The following statement can be attributed to the coalition formed by 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. which owns and operates PokerStars. These groups joined together in a formal agreement last year to work jointly to promote legislation that authorizes and regulates intrastate real-money online poker in California.
“A growing consensus has emerged among a critical mass of California’s diverse gaming interests who are committed to working together to pass iPoker authorizing legislation that is in the best interest of California and consumers. This new, collaborative approach is what will make 2015 the year California finally succeeds in protecting consumers and building a competitive marketplace.
“Every year that California fails to act not only puts consumers at risk while playing online games from offshore localities that provide few protections and regulations, but our state also loses out on collecting hundreds of millions of dollars that can be used for essential programs like public schools, public safety, healthcare and social services.
“It is unfortunate that a handful of tribes have chosen to follow the same, divisive path that blocked legislation from advancing over the past six years. Ultimately, this debate should be about what’s in the best interest of California. Instead, a smaller and smaller number of opponents continues to put their own economic interests ahead of the 2 million Californians consumers who play online poker and the 38 million Californians who would benefit from a new revenue source to the state.
“The momentum of our unprecedented coalition this year is undeniable and we are confident that with our consensus agreement of principles, we will be successful in bringing a safe and legal online poker experience to California that is faithful to the highest regulatory standards of consumer assurances.
“We also remain very committed to passing an online poker bill this year that encompasses the best choices and protections for players and one that does not choose winners and losers in the marketplace. While we strongly support robust protection from “bad actor” companies, determining bad actors should be left to regulators.
“The so-called ‘bad actor’ language supported by the six tribes would exclude - for purely anti-competitive reasons - companies that have never been convicted of wrongdoing, are duly licensed in jurisdictions around the world and already are licensed for gaming in California, and have set the gold standard in the online poker industry for game and financial integrity and player satisfaction. The so-called bad actor provisions are anti-competitive, anti-consumer and violate both the U.S. and California constitutions.
“We fully intend to move forward and work to ensure that the principles already agreed to by a growing and truly representative swath of the state’s tribes and gaming interests are included in any final piece of legislation that will finally carry online poker across the finish line this year.”
About the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is a federally recognized American Indian tribe located near the city of Highland, Calif. The Serrano Indians are the indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys and mountains who share a common language and culture. The San Manuel reservation was established in 1891 and recognized as a sovereign nation with the right of self-government. Since time immemorial, the San Manuel tribal community has endured change and hardship. Amidst these challenges the tribe continued to maintain its unique form of governance. Like other governments it seeks to provide a better quality of life for its citizens by building infrastructure, maintaining civil services and promoting social, economic and cultural development. Today San Manuel tribal government oversees many governmental units including the departments of fire, public safety, education and environment. San Manuel operates San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino.
About the Morongo Band of Mission Indians
The Morongo Band of Mission Indians is a federally-recognized Indian Tribe that operates the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa near Banning (Riverside County), California, under a Class III gaming compact with the State of California. The Tribe exercises governmental jurisdiction over the 34,000+ acre Morongo Indian Reservation. Since 2009, the Morongo Band has been in the forefront of efforts to give California's online poker players renewed access to the online games from which they've been excluded since 2011. The Tribe's California LLC, Morongo Internet Poker, is one of the members of the California Internet Poker LLC.
About Commerce Casino
Commerce Casino, the largest poker casino in the world, has more than 200 tables featuring about every form of poker: Texas Hold 'em, 7-Card Stud, Omaha, Pot Limit, Mexican Poker, Pineapple, Draw, Low-Ball and many others. Commerce Casino is recognized for its innovative "Bring Your Home Game to Commerce" program enabling poker fans to invite friends/family for a casual home game, bachelor party or birthday celebration with a professional dealer in a casino setting. Commerce Casino is located at 6131 East Telegraph Rd., Commerce, CA 90040, just off the Santa Ana (5) Freeway at the Washington Blvd. exit. For more information, go to CommerceCasino.com or call 323.721.2100.
About Bicycle Casino
The Bicycle Casino has been a premier gaming destination in Southern California since it’s opening in 1984. Located in Bell Gardens, it has historical employed nearly 2,000 people hosting daily customers, international visitors and poker celebrities. Under the leadership of General Partners Bob Carter and Hashem Minaiy, they are expanding their facility which will soon open a world class 100 room luxury hotel to accommodate their growing tournament business.
Active participants in their community, the Bike (as it’s commonly known) contributes significant resources to the public safety and recreational needs of its Bell Gardens neighbors, provides 60% of the City of Bell Gardens annual budget, and through its Bicycle Casino Community Foundation, provides several thousands of dollars annually in college scholarships to deserving students.
About Hawaiian Gardens Casino
Hawaiian Gardens Casino has been an integral part of the City of Hawaiian Gardens for nearly 20 years. The Hawaiian Garden Casino opened with five tables and has grown to nearly 200 tables in our current 59,500 square foot facility. Hawaiian Gardens Casino is the second largest card club and ranks second in revenue in the world. Hawaiian Gardens Casino is presently constructing a new 220,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art casino. Scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2016, this new facility will include 300 gaming tables as well as a restaurant, lounge, VIP gaming section and event center capable of hosting 75 tournament tables.
About Amaya Inc.
Amaya Inc., owns and operates gaming and related businesses and brands including PokerStars, Full Tilt, the European Poker Tour, PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Latin American Poker Tour and the Asia Pacific Poker Tour. These brands collectively form the largest poker business in the world, comprising online poker games and tournaments, live poker competitions and poker programming created for television and online audiences. In addition to operating two of the largest online poker sites, Amaya Inc. is the largest producer of live poker events around the world. Amaya Inc. also provides interactive and physical gaming solutions to the regulated gaming industry. For more information please visit www.amayagaming.com.