It was recently announced that major Native American tribes in California, with their own casinos, had come to an agreement on a framework for online poker legislation. The group of tribes penned a letter to California State Senator Lou Correa (Democrat from Santa Ana) and Assemblyman RJ Sawyer (Democrat from Los Angeles). The authors of the poker bills up for consideration have managed to attract widespread support from the most influential players in the tribal casino industry. Some 13 Native American tribal leaders have come to consensus.
The letter written by the 13 Native American tribes, to the honourable Lou Correa, and Reggie Jones-Sawyer was delivered on 2 June 2014. It reiterated the strong support that Indian tribes had managed to garner for 2 poker bills: SB 1366 and AB 2291. It marks the first time in 5 years that a unified front has been reached in respect of online poker legislation within the state of California. The letter goes to great lengths to discuss the challenges and the opportunities presented by the age of the Internet, and how to harness online poker for the benefit of California, the tribes and their casinos. Special emphasis was placed on protecting the vulnerable, creating jobs and generating revenues for the state.
The signatories for the letter to the congressmen in California include the following: Jeff Grubbe of the Cahuilla Indians; Clifford LaChappa of the Barona Indians; Wayne Mitchum Jr of the Cachil Dehe Indians; Margie Meija of the Pomo Indians; Robert Smith of the Pala Indians; Andrew Freeman of the Paskenta Band; Mark Macarro of the Pechanga Band; Bo Mazzetti of the Rincon Band; Lynn Valbuena of the San Manuel Band; Daniel J Tucker of the Sycuan Band; Jean Whitehouse of United Auburn Indians; Anthony Pico of the Viejas Band and Marshall McKay of the Yocha Dehe Indians.
Morongo Indians Absent from Agreement
The Morongo Band of Mission Indians did not sign on to the agreement, since they are partnering with PokerStars. The reason why PokerStars is an important sticking point between the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and the 13 signatories to the letter is that PokerStars has been deemed a bad actor. In their statement, the Morongo coalition rebuffed attempts by the 13 other signatories to pass legislation without them. The Morongo Riverside County tribe believes that other parties are trying to position themselves and to prevent others from entering the market.