California tribes still at odds over online poker

California-PokerSacramento Bee –  California tribal casinos were deeply divided about how, or if, the state should legalize online poker. Now tribes are talking, but a deal remains elusive because of key disagreements.

Robert Martin, chairman of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, said he would have no problem with allowing racetracks and advanced-deposit wagering facilities to offer online poker.

“I can’t answer for every tribe, but I can tell you that Agua Caliente would oppose that bill,” said Jeff Grubbe, chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. He noted that voters in 2004 rejected a measure to expand gambling at horse tracks.

Grubbe said his tribe and others want any legalized California online poker games to exclude operators such as PokerStars, which critics say has violated federal law. Such “bad actor” language would be a deal breaker, Martin responded. His tribe, which is working with PokerStars, thinks state regulators should make that call.

The two online poker bills in play are Assembly Bill 2291 by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, and Senate Bill 1366 by state Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana.


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