Phil Ivey Betting on Online Poker in California
It’s been announced that professional poker player Phil Ivey has signed a sponsorship deal with Pala Interactive, a new company recently formed with the intention of providing online poker games in California. Of course, California has not yet legalized any forms of online gambling within the state, but legislators have been working diligently to make that happen for several years now.
Pala Interactive is an amalgamation of the Pala Band of Mission Indians and Jim Ryan, the former CEO of bwin.party. According to public records, Pala Interactive LLC was officially formed in February of this year, with its website, PalaInteractive.com, registered a month prior. The deal currently supports intrastate online poker upon regulation in California, but contains clauses that would allow the group to expand into other states if and when interstate online gambling is legalized.
In its current format, Pala Interactive is set to integrate the gaming system of Realtime Edge software (RTE); the same company that is recorded as a provider to major online poker sites like bwin.party, ClubWPT, GTECH and RocketFrog. Susan Basinger is recorded as a registered agent for the company, being an attorney who was formerly a representative of the Pala Band of Mission Indians.
Once the most prominent face of Full Tilt Poker, Phil Ivey has conspicuously avoided signing on as a team pro player for any other online poker room since Black Friday, when he reconciled his position as a Full Tilt Pro. Instead he has focused on personal ventures, such as his branding of Ivey Poker and the acquisition of LeggoPoker, a poker training site that he now promotes as the leading player coach. Ivey personally saw to the hiring of a multitude of select poker pros to help in his crusade to develop the Ivey LEague. Just this week, Ivey launched a new poker app on the social network, Facebook. Now he has signed on to be the face of an expected leader in online poker in the Golden State.
Jim Ryan’s role in the company is causing some skepticism among industry analysts. Before working with bwin.party, Ryan was the former CEO of Excapsa, the parent company of Ultimate Bet, an online poker room that fell into shambles when it was revealed that a major head of the company was involved in the multi-million dollar cheating scandal that led to its extinction. Although Ryan’s role in the scandal is obscure, his association alone brings about questions that may raise the eyebrows of California’s gaming control board when it comes time to apply for licensing.
As Californian representatives continue to push for legalization and regulation of online gaming within the state’s borders, analysts believe the impending legislation is certain to come to fruition in the near future. California is one of the few states with bills floating about its government offices in which experts trust online poker will be regulated. If and when that occurs, online poker would be restricted to players within the borders of the Golden State, but with the potential expand into other regulated states in the future.