Wednesday July 16,2014 : IS THE SANTA YSABEL PROJECT A GOOD THING FOR ONLINE POKER?
Industry experts critical of tribe’s unilateral move to launch a new online poker site powered by IGSoft.
The news earlier this week that Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel in San Diego is to launch an IGSoft-powered online poker site titled Private Table.com has triggered a wave of often critical comment based on the tribe’s failed performance as a land casino.
Invoking tribal sovereignty and the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act as the authority for their new online initiative, the site is backed by the tribe's Santa Ysabel Interactive and regulated by the Santa Ysabel Gaming Commission.
In a lengthy but reasoned article on the development, industry writer Steve Ruddock has questioned whether this unilateral move by a relatively small player in the business is good for the current legalization projects striving to succeed in California, and concludes that it is not.
Critics on the popular twoplustwo forum were blunt in commenting on the issue, with one well known and respected poster commenting:
"So, to sum up, a 300-member California Indian tribe, that went bust on their b&m casino earlier this year and defaulted on tens of millions of dollars in related loans from the Apache Indian tribe of AZ, is going operational this week for real-money intrastate online poker despite having no clear legal precedent or permission from the CA State or US Federal governments, using the same software platform as one of the current US-facing offshore poker networks that is operating illegally in the eyes of the US DOJ, working in conjunction with the Kahnawakee Gaming Commission who was at a minimum complicit in the AP/UB superuser scandals, and using a payment processor whose web site could have been written by almost any high school student and currently contains no method for customers to sign up for their ewallet and whose owner has been lately embroiled in a couple of multi-million dollar court judgements against one of his financial processing companies for the Indian gaming industry, which judgements he tried to dodge by filing for bankruptcy but was denied by the court.
What could go wrong?"
To be fair, the KGC has come a long way down the reform road since the days of the Absolute and UltimateBet poker scandals, but that sort of historic criticism has to be painful.
Meanwhile, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission has issued two advisory notices immediately following the Santa Ysabel Gaming Commission news, revealing that it has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the SYGC to provide mutual assistance and exchanges of information on regulatory matters. The arrangement is similar to those the KGC has with regulators in other jurisdictions, including Antigua, Malta and Alderney.
In a separate advisory, the KGC reveals that it has granted an Inter-Jurisdictional Authorization to Santa Ysabel Interactive, which it describes as "…an online poker site owned and operated by the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, California.”
The KGC notes that Santa Ysabel Interactive is licensed and regulated by the Santa Ysabel Gaming Commission, and that the KGC inter-jurisdictional authorisation enables Santa Ysabel Interactive to host its gaming servers and related equipment at Mohawk Internet Technologies, a hosting facility located within the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake.
"The KGC fully supports Santa Ysabel’s ground-breaking initiative into online gaming in California and looks forward to assisting other Tribes and First Nations who are interested in participating in a regulated online gaming industry," the notice concludes.