Earlier this year, PokerStars and Morongo Band of Mission Indians reached an agreement for the former to serve as the subcontractor to provide an online poker platform for three card clubs — Bicycle Casino, Hawaiian Gardens, and Commerce — if and when legislation is passed in California. Now, that partnership has strengthened as the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians have joined the agreement to form a coalition that’ll advocate for online poker in the Bear State.
"We’re pleased to welcome San Manuel to our coalition," said Morongo Band of Mission Indians Tribal Chairman Robert Martin. "It marks a new day in our efforts to authorize online poker in California. We’re excited about the momentum and opportunities this new agreement represents in getting legislation passed. As tribes come together on this issue, the opportunity for success grows."
The new coalition, which now includes Amaya Gaming Group since their acquisition of PokerStars, also revealed that they will seek to include intrastate online poker language in future legislation, which in theory would allow their massive player pool to join forces with other state that have legalized online poker such as Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey. California is the most populous state in the Union with over 38 million people.
"We are pleased to join this coalition," said Lynn Valbuena, Chairwoman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. "We are convinced that the various interests must work together if we are to be successful in establishing a well-regulated environment and the best-in-class Internet poker industry for California."
A federally-recognized American Indian tribe located near the city of Highland, California, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians currently operates San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino.
"San Manuel is a strong, forward-thinking operator and is a great partner to join our coalition in advocating for the development of an open and well regulated iPoker market in California," said Guy Templer, Group Business Development Director with PokerStars. "We are looking forward to working with the Legislature and with other stakeholders to help develop an industry that will benefit California consumers and the State alike."
In August, California’s two online poker bills were shelved after invested parties ran out of time to come to an agreement the language of the bill, including whether or not a bad actor clause should be included. At the time, PokerStars, which offered poker after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, was at the center of the debate, but opposition softened after the world’s largest poker site was acquired by the more reputable Amaya Gaming.
We'll have much more on California's push to legalize online poker as the story develops. Get all the latest PokerNews updates on your social media outlets. Follow us on Twitter and find us on both Facebook and Google+!