If a recent report by OnlinePokerReport.com has any validity, California may spin its wheels on iPoker yet again in 2017.
According to a report by Dave Palermo the "PokerStars Coalition" plans to introduce a new iPoker regulation bill in the near future but there is a strong feeling that tribes are still miles apart regarding a consensus.
PokerStars Coalition to File Self-Serving Bill
It shouldn't come as a surprise that the PokerStars Coalition plans to introduce a bill that will allow PokerStars to enter the California iPoker market.
Legislation floated in 2016 originally carved a path for PokerStars but the bill was later changed and all bad actors would have to serve a minimum five-year ban from entering the market.
While details were not revealed on the bill, one can assume that PokerStars will face few (if any) penalties on entering the California market.
PokerStars is one of the major sites that were prosecuted by the DOJ back in 2011 and while they settled with the DOJ, the fact that they participated in unregulated online poker is a big issue for many of the tribes in California.
Even the Morongo Realize Odds of Passage Are Long
Palermo spoke with Robert Martin, chairman of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, regarding the upcoming bill.
Martin revealed that he was not optimistic that other tribal governments will go along with their proposal, which is a bit of an understatement considering the state's past.
Regarding a tribal consensus, Martin stated, "We've been at it nine years now and we're not that much closer."
Baazov Continues to Be Point of Contention
Early last year it appeared that PokerStars might have a shot at getting into California after New Jersey agreed to grant the company a license.
Amaya CEO David Baazov was then hit with insider trading charges and took a paid leave of absence with the company. Later, he stepped down from the company.
Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro summed up the opinion of tribal opposition when he stated, "What we know for certain is that PokerStars/Amaya is even more of a sewer swamp than we originally thought, hence the need to keep strong on bad actor language."
In addition, Baazov is currently floating a bid in an attempt to buy the company and take it private again. Should this happen, one can expect that the opposition against PokerStars to solidify.
Will RAWA Change Things?
An interesting closing point that Palermo made in his article was whether the looming threat of RAWA will have any bearing on tribal willingness to act.
This "threat" is based on a letter sent to Vice-President Elect Mike Pence from 10 state Attorneys General with said letter asking the upcoming Trump Administration to restore the Federal Wire Act.
While most online poker sites want to claim that the sky might be falling, it is way too early to make any type of legitimate speculation on this fact.
Letters such as this, and with more names attached, have been sent in the past with little or no response to them.
There's been no word from Pence or others in the Trump Administration as to whether such a proposal would even be considered.
If you look at their plan for the first 100 days and beyond, it would seem that the Trump Administration wouldn't have time for a matter that is realistically inconsequential to other national matters.
Simply stated, RAWA isn't going to be a factor so anyone claiming that it might is just trying to get your hopes up.
As in prior years, we should have a good idea by March or April of where tribes stand and whether there's any realistic chance of passage.
Right now, we'd put those odds at 25% or less - and 25% is being optimistic.