According to a recent article by Debra Gruszecki, a writer for the Palm Springs Desert Sun, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians has backed off of its position to legalize online poker in California. Originally, the Morongo tribe was working with California-based card rooms to help bring taxable intrastate online poker to the cash-strapped state.
The group's push to legalize and regulate the online poker industry appears to have hit a temporary stumbling block. "Some concerns have been raised and we want to make sure we address those concerns so this can benefit everyone. We are going to redouble our efforts and present this in January to the (state) Legislature," said tribe spokesman Patrick Dorinson in Gruszecki's article.
Although the tribe has backed down temporarily, it appears as though a solid working relationship between the card rooms in California and the tribe still exists. According to Waltona Manion, a spokesperson for the consortium of card rooms involved in the process, postponement will enable the groups to continue working with government representatives and other California tribes so that the issue can be explored in January.
Despite receiving support from the Morongo tribe, a number of California tribes have lobbied against intrastate poker in California including the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians in Temecula. According to the Pechanga tribal chairmanMark Macarro, further exploration of the concept needs to take place before everyone can get on board. "Tribal and state leaders clearly need more time to weigh the consequences of this proposal. There may be merit to the concept, but a lot of questions still need to be addressed," he said.
A number of tribes believe that the economic impact of intrastate poker would have negative ramifications for California's tribal gaming laws because many people believe tribes will violate their gambling pacts with the state.