California Halts Tribe’s Online Poker Progress
This story is actually an update to one that we posted several months ago. A tribe in California wanted to push forward with online gambling even though California was hesitant to legalize it. They wanted to show exactly how much a site can bring in for the state. Between the winnings the no deposit promotions, their ultimate goal was to basically say “hey, if you guys were to legalize online gambling, look at how much you’d be bringing in!”
The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel noted that online poker is a class II game, and it was perfectly legal to play class II games. They also revealed FinPay, a brand new payment processing company, would be handling all online transactions.
Shortly after the tribe launched the website, however, Kamala Harris, the attorney general of California, decided to get a temporary restraining order on the site. The Department of Justice also joined in, saying that the site is in violation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, which put an end to the tribe’s quest to get the online poker site off of the ground. One of their other sites, a bingo site, will continue to run until the court issues a ruling.
No matter which angle you take, this is a pretty large setback for the state of California. They were looking to legalize online gambling in 2015, but they appear to be as resistant as ever to actually embracing change. This news is disappointing, but ultimately expected.
So what happens now?
Well, the site’s caught in a legal limbo. They can’t move forward with their poker site, and the other site is, essentially, frozen. Their hopes to prove to California how much they could raise via online poker have been dashed.
Next year could be completely different, though. Now that Sheldon Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act proposal has been officially killed for 2014 and must be reintroduced for 2015, supporters of online poker have time to regroup and focus their efforts. This also lends hope to the tribe’s efforts to create an online poker site.
Either way, the tribe’s site will be a huge focus point next year. California and Pennsylvania are expected to make decisions in regards to online poker next year, and if logic prevails, online poker will be legalized in some form or fashion for both states. California’s going to be a tougher sell, though it really shouldn’t be, given how much the state needs cash.
Regardless, it was a great attempt to bring some common sense and logic into the state of California, but once again, those that fear change slammed the brakes on the issue. It remains to be seen what happens with the tribe, but hopefully they’ll be able to operate soon.