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PokerStars and Partners: “We Will Continue to Work” to Bring Online Poker to California

Lombard Street
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Following news that California lawmakers were shelving an online poker push for the session, PokerStars and its partners released a statement stressing their continued commitment to bringing regulated online poker to the Golden State.

PokerStars is aligned with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and a group of California card rooms that includes the Commerce, Hawaiian Gardens and the Bike.

“We have been working on this issue for five years now and while we were optimistic that a suitable bill would move forward in 2014, we’re in this for the long haul and we’d rather do it right than have a bad bill,” Morongo Band of Mission Indians Tribal Chairman Robert Martin said, speaking on behalf of the coalition.

“Clearly the issues surrounding the latest bills that sought to unconstitutionally limit competition, place prohibitions on race tracks, and rewrite longstanding, successful state policy regarding California’s oversight of gaming proved insurmountable for this session,” Martin continued.

Martin’s inclusion of the race tracks is worth noting and lends some support to Victor Rocha’s theory that 2015 will bring dueling bills from the PokerStars and Pechanga / San Manuel coalitions.

The Pechanga / San Manuel coalition includes 13 tribes that came to agreement on unified language for an online poker bill in June.

“We will continue to work with our partners, legislators, state regulators and other California tribes on developing future iPoker legislation that meets constitutional tests and provides much needed consumer protections to California’s 2 million online poker players,” concluded Martin.

Speaking on behalf of the three card clubs, attorney Keith Sharp said, “Any legislation authorizing Internet poker should ensure that we create the most successful market possible that provides consumers access to the trusted brands they want in a strongly regulated environment.”

“We remain committed to continued discussions in the interim and next session.”

Jones-Sawyer’s office recently indicated to PokerNews that an online poker bill would be the Assembly Member’s first priority when lawmakers return to Sacramento this December.

Guy Templer, Group Director of Strategy and Business Development for the Rational Group, which operates PokerStars, said, “PokerStars has a great history with regulators and governments all over the world, and we look forward to working with lawmakers and regulators in California to help structure a market that provides robust competition and strong regulatory oversight.

“We look forward to bringing our best practices in responsible gaming, online security, e-commerce, protection of players’ funds and game integrity to any new California market.”

The statement did not include any comment from Amaya Gaming, who formally assumed ownership of Rational and PokerStars last week.

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Chris Grove
- Chris is the publisher of OnlinePokerReport.com. Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.