To the surprise of no one, the insider trading charges filed by Canadian regulators against former Amaya CEO David Baazov (Baazov has taken a voluntary leave of absence from his position as CEO and Chairman of the Board) are already having a negative impact on efforts to pass an online poker bill in California, and based on some of the comments coming out of the Golden State, it could lead to a major shakeup among the coalitions that have formed between certain stakeholders.
The situation PokerStars is now facing has bolstered the company’s detractors, evidenced by tribal lobbyist David Quintana’s statement to veteran California gaming reporter Dave Palermo, in which Quintana said, “Now they [Amaya/PokerStars] are even dirtier than we thought they were.” But an even more shocking development than the schadenfreude PokerStars opponents are engaging in is the wedge that appears to be forming between PokerStars and its previously ironclad coalition of California card rooms and tribes.
As was first reported by Palermo, Lynn Valbuena, the chair of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians (a PokerStars-allied tribe), was quoted as saying, “San Manuel has deep concerns about these latest Amaya revelations” at a meeting between tribal leaders and Assemblyman Adam Gray. “Our council is looking into this and we will get back to all of you.” According to Palermo’s reporting, the statements caught the other members of the PokerStars coalition – the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the United Auburn Indian Community, the Bicycle Casino, Commerce Casino, and Hawaiian Gardens Casino – by surprise.
There are several contingency plans PokerStars’ current brick and mortar partners could implement if they think the situation with PokerStars is untenable and decide to move on from the company.
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