PokerStars And Coalition Partners Launch California Online Poker Ad Campaign

PokerStars And California Partners Launch Ad Campaign: “It’s Time To Regulate iPoker”

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A new ad campaign from Californians for Responsible iPoker (CRI) positions regulated online poker as the antidote to unscrupulous offshore operators and calls on voters to ask legislators to support regulation.

CRI is an initiative backed by a coalition comprised of Amaya / PokerStars, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Commerce Casino and the Bicycle and Hawaiian Gardens card clubs.

The campaign includes web display ads and radio spots. A transcript of the radio ad is available below. Listen to the ad here.

The CRI website launched last week at

Radio ad offers competing view, approach to recent Viejas campaign

There are two interesting points of contrast between the CRI ad and a recent radio spot backed by the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians:

  • The CRI ad does not directly respond to the Viejas attacks against Amaya / PokerStars. But CRI implicitly refers to PokerStars as a “licensed, responsible company.”
  • The CRI ad does not mention any specific legislation, while the Viejas ad directly references AB 431.

Like the CRI campaign, the Viejas campaign included radio and Internet display ads.

Shortly following the Viejas campaign, a direct mail campaign that echoed many of the themes of the Viejas campaign was launched by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.

Transcript of radio ad

The ad opens with a vignette of a couple talking.

HER: “Hey honey, whatcha up to?”

HIM: “Just looking to play online poker.”

HER: “You’re not thinking of playing on one of those unregulated websites, though, right?”

HIM: “Well, there aren’t any sites based in California because the state hasn’t put any regulations in place. This one’s probably fine.”

HER: “Probably?”

Vignette ends, voiceover begins

Because California does not have regulations in place for online poker, consumers are at risk of fraud. And California is losing out on millions in revenues.

Thankfully, California legislators have a plan to regulate it. This plan will protect consumers, enact strict safeguards to protect kids from gambling, and ensure only licensed, responsible companies operate here.

Online poker is safe and regulated in dozens of countries and several US states.

Go to and tell your legislators it’s time to regulate iPoker.

Full press release from CRI

Tribal, Cardroom and PokerStars Coalition Launch Campaign to Engage Californians to Pass Online Poker Bill in California

Ad campaign, grassroots advocacy website and poker celebrity tour announced.

SACRAMENTO – A coalition of groups in support of authorizing and regulating online poker in California announced today a statewide program to engage California citizens, businesses and others in a grassroots campaign to pass an online poker bill in California.

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, California’s three largest card clubs – Commerce Casino, Hawaiian Gardens Casino and Bicycle Casino – and Amaya Inc. (TSX; AYA; Nasdaq: AYA), owner of PokerStars, today began airing 60 second radio ads and online advertising asking people to contact legislators and to urge them to protect consumers by authorizing and regulating online poker in California.

In addition to the ad campaign, the coalition launched a new advocacy website,, which will serve as a portal for citizens, businesses, and poker players to engage in the conversation to authorize iPoker and connect with legislators to voice their support.

Later this summer the “Let California Play!” PokerStars Pro Tour will launch, bringing PokerStars celebrity poker pros to cardrooms throughout California as a means of educating citizens and engaging the thousands of California live poker players in the iPoker conversation.

“We intend to push online poker over the finish line,” said San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena. “Authorizing online poker by creating a strictly regulated marketplace in California is the right thing to do for consumers, and it’s the right thing to do for the state.”

“We believe strongly that regulating iPoker is good for consumers, and we will not stand by and let a few entrenched interests derail this important consumer issue,” said Morongo Band of Mission Indians Chairman Robert Martin. “Our campaign is about offering Californians choice and much needed consumer protections, and is intended to engage poker players and others who support state regulation of iPoker.”

“This year we’ve seen a lot of positive momentum and that has obviously scared those who want to derail online poker forever,” said Keith Sharp of Falk & Sharp, representing the three cardrooms. “By taking our effort directly to consumers and getting legislators’ constituents engaged, we think we can disrupt the logjam.”

“As a global home of innovation, technology and consumer rights, it’s time California updated its old laws and regulated online poker to protect consumers, and bring new revenue to California,” said Eric Hollreiser, Head of Corporate Communications, Amaya Inc. and PokerStars.

The Californians for Responsible iPoker website will be the hub for all legislative advocacy efforts going forward, allowing people to sign up, join the coalition and receive regular updates, and ultimately will allow constituents to directly connect with their legislators.  The website also listsTop 10 Reasons to Authorize and Regulate Online Poker in California as well as the coalition’s guiding Principles for Establishing Online Poker in California.

The “Let California Play!” PokerStars Pro Tour is a collaboration between PokerStars and cardrooms that support authorizing online poker in California. More details will be forthcoming about the Pro Tour which hits the road this summer.

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