CALIFORNIA ONLINE POKER BILL FACES TRIBAL OPPOSITION
6/22/10 – Californian state Senator Rod Wright has confirmed the hearing date for his SB 1485 proposal as June 29, 2010.
The proposal seeks to legalise and tax intrastate online poker in the cash-strapped state, and will be considered in an afternoon sitting of the California Senate Governmental Organization Committee, which Senator Wright chairs.
However, the Desert Sun newspaper reports that the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN) is against the proposal and has communicated its objections to the Committee.
TASIN is an inter-governmental association of 11 federally recognised Indian tribes. Its members include the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Morongo and Augustine bands of Mission Indians.
Among the tribal casino interests opposing the bill is the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, which has previously tried to arrange an exclusive intrastate online poker legalization for itself and Californian card rooms with which it is associated.
Morongo spokesman Patrick Dorinson told the Desert Sun they could not support the bill because it would not prevent offshore companies from bidding for up to three five-year licenses to run online poker sites for state residents.
“We've always supported the concept of intrastate poker in California because of consumer protections, revenue to the state and the fact it would bring the game out of the shadows,” said Dorinson. “But we cannot support the bill in its present form.”
“It would take money out of the state. We said this should be a game for Californians, run by Californians,” he added.
The TASIN letter argued that SB 1485 would irrevocably alter the gaming landscape in California and undermine the basis upon which state and tribal government compacts, including financial commitments, have been made.