PokerStars Coalition Now the Opposition

by Kyle Miller

CaliforniaCalifornia may never be able to pass online gambling legislation if interest groups cannot come to an agreement as to how the industry should be regulated.

The state of California cannot seem to get their act together when it comes to the discussion of online gambling. Legislators, card rooms, online poker brands and tribal groups all seem to have their own ideas as to how the industry should take place within the state, not to mention the race tracks. Each interest group has been back and forth as to what they want to see take place and lawmakers are not ready to make a final decision until everyone is on the same page.

Fighting From The Very Beginning

In the beginning, it was tribal groups who did not want to see racetracks or brands such as PokerStars take part. A few tribal groups had already partnered with the brand and were in favor. Currently, legislation AB 2863, created by Adam Gray an Assemblyman of the state, has been changed and reworked seemingly a half a dozen times to try and gain passage. After being changed to support the tribal groups in opposition to PokerStars, it now seems that the PokerStars coalition is not happy with the changes.

The new changes to the bill would prohibit PokerStars from applying for licensing for online poker gaming within the state of California for a five year time frame. This request was put in place by a tribal coalition that includes the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians as well as six other tribal groups. PokerStars is not happy with the changes and the coalition involving the online poker brand have now called for changes to the recent amendments of the measure.

Previous language for suitability called for companies who are considered to be ‘bad actors’ to not become involved for a five year time frame or to pay a fee of $20 million. The amended version does not allow the five year ban to be done away with. It also includes language that could keep some brands such as PokerStars from taking part indefinitely.

PokerStars Now Holds Opposition Position

So now the roles have reversed. Instead of the Pechanga coalition being the stalling group behind the measure, the PokerStars coalition is now fighting the legislation. The group is hoping a vote this week does not happen and they are able to see changes to the measure so they can take part. Other groups with a vested interest, such as the card rooms and horseracing industry, have not spoken out about the changes.

It seems neither group can back down and come to some kind of compromise so that everyone can take part if California ever is able to pass online poker legislation. Even the Poker Players Alliance has gotten involved.  Taking to Twitter, the PPA posted several tweets which include:

PPA Tweets

The PPA has gotten behind the PokerStars Coalition, showing support amidst the recent bill changes. The group has watched as the state has tried several times to offer online poker legislation only to be shut down due to infighting. The PPA feels that the new changes to the legislation will keep competition from taking place which is effectively against the constitution.

Head of Corporate Communications at Amaya Gaming, the Parent Company of PokerStars, Eric Hollreiser, commented on PokerStars stance by stating:

Eric Hollreiser's Comments

It will be interesting to see if PokerStars will be able to see any changes made to legislation or if the legislation will remain the same and move forward towards becoming law.