Saturday March 29,2014 : POKERSTARS FIGHTS BACK ON CALIFORNIA ‘BAD ACTOR' COMMENTS
International online poker giant issues a rebuttal on tribal claims that it is not suitable for licensing.
Eric Hollreiser, the corporate communications chief at Pokerstars parent company The Rational Group, has issued a stinging rebuttal of claims by the California Tribal Business Alliance and several Californian tribes suggesting that it is not suitable for Californian online poker licensing, should a regulatory regime emerge from the state Legislature.
Hollreiser notes that Pokerstars shares the tribes' belief that online poker in California should be based upon the highest standards of suitability that maximize consumer protection and consumer choice, and he points out:
"We have consistently met those standards in jurisdictions around the world, where we hold 11 licenses – more than any other company, including licenses in leading European jurisdictions such as Italy, France and Spain."
"PokerStars has not, will not and need not request any changes to the California gaming regulations," Hollreiser asserts. "Most regulatory frameworks around the world leave the assessment of suitability to qualified expert regulators. The same position has been taken by the legislators in New Jersey.
"The California Gambling Control Commission has a 15-year history of successful consumer protection and is more than qualified to continue to determine suitability."
The sting in his statement comes next:
"The only parties seeking to change this are certain groups who want to use the Legislature to gain a competitive market advantage and to limit competition. Their efforts are not in the best interest of consumer choice or consumer protection.
"These groups are misrepresenting the Unlawful Internet Enforcement Gambling Act (UIGEA) and PokerStars’ past U.S. operations serving only to exclude PokerStars from the market in order to avoid what should be fair competition.
"The fact is that UIGEA did not make illegal any gaming that was not already illegal before its passage. This has been confirmed by the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals and by the U.S. Department of Justice (**reference below).
"PokerStars operated under legal opinion that its offering of online poker did not violate U.S. law before 2006 and maintained that opinion following the passage of UIGEA."
Hollreiser says that Pokerstars looks forward to demonstrating its suitability to the Californian regulator "…just like any other company seeking to operate in California and investing in a fair and well-regulated market."
Footnotes to the statement quote:
** 1) Brian Benczowski, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General (Justice Department), wrote in a letter to Rep. John Conyers, Chairman, House Committee on the Judiciary on July 23, 2007 – “[T]he UIGEA itself does not make any type of gambling legal or illegal; rather, the statute is focused on regulating the methods of payment for already-illegal gambling.”
2) The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that the UIGEA “does not itself outlaw any gambling activity, but rather incorporates other Federal or State law related to gambling.” Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Ass’n v. Attorney General, 580 F.3d 113, 116 (3d Cir. 2009).