Thursday April 24 ,2014 : POKERSTARS, TRIBES AND CARDROOMS CONFIRM POKER ALLIANCE
Speculation on major development for Californian online poker confirmed.
The news that online poker giant Pokerstars was in talks to form a business alliance with Californian tribes and cardrooms has been out there for so long that the confirmation by those involved Wednesday was almost an anti-climax.
The announcement came as Californian politicians and the great and the good of the industry discussed the legalization of online poker at a House Committee hearing in the state capital, making the confirmation all the more relevant.
The powerful alliance comprises the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the world's three largest cardrooms (the Commerce Club, the Hawaiian Gardens Casino and the Bicycle Casino) and of course the Isle of Man-based parent group that owns and operates Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker, The Rational Group.
The prime objective of the alliance is to secure a leading position in the event that Californian lawmakers approve legalization leading to the legalization of online poker in california one of the richest and most populous states in the Union.
Pokerstars will provide technology and operational know-how along with capital, whilst its partners will operate the real-money online poker facilities, and work together in advocating legalised online poker (presumably without "bad actor" provisions).
Morongo chairman Robert Martin said Wednesday:
“We’re pleased to announce our agreement with these established and proven organizations that represent millions of California poker players. We’re confident that, together, we can offer a safe, secure, high-quality online poker experience that brings financial benefits to California while providing the highest level of accountability, choice, service and protection for consumers.”
The alliance has set out its guiding principles in the announcement:
* To extend stringent Californian consumer protection and accountability standards to its enterprise;
* To ensure that Californians benefit from legalised online poker within state borders;
* To advocate the strict vetting of all online operators and sub-contractors before issuing licenses;
* To "vigorously" reject efforts by vested interests that try to manipulate the state Legislature into restricting competition and picking favourites to the prejudice of the consumer.
Keith Sharp, a spokesman for the three major cardrooms in the new coalition, said:
“As operators of the world’s largest card clubs, we are excited to join the Morongo and PokerStars to provide California players with familiar brands to choose from in a well-regulated online poker experience.
"California has a long history and deep expertise in regulating live poker and we look forward to working with legislators and our industry colleagues to pass a bill that enhances competition and consumer protection, while providing the state Gambling Control Commission and state Department of Justice with the regulatory tools, staff and other resources needed to apply their expertise in vetting and assessing the suitability of prospective operators and subcontractors, and providing strict ongoing regulatory oversight.”
Rational Group strategy and business spokesman Guy Templer observed:
“PokerStars has a great history with California poker players, who want us in the market. We are the worldwide leader in regulated online poker and hold more national licenses than any other operator. We look forward to bringing our best practices in responsible gaming, online security, e-commerce, protection of players' funds and game integrity to the California market.”