Partnership Statement

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, California’s three largest card clubs – the Commerce Club, Hawaiian Gardens Casino and the Bicycle Casino – and Amaya Inc., which owns and operates PokerStars, have formed a business alliance to promote legislation that authorizes and regulates intrastate real-money online poker in California.

Below are the coalition’s guiding principles, the essential elements of any legislation to authorize intrastate online poker.

California’s Marketplace Should Be Inclusive So Consumers Have Choice and Access to Trusted Online Poker Brands.

  • Experiences in other regulated environments have demonstrated that the most successful marketplaces are inclusive and provide consumers access to a variety of trusted, well regulated choices.
  • Legislation authorizing iPoker in California should do the same: establish a vibrant, competitive, fully inclusive marketplace with choices for consumers and strong consumer protections; strict oversight and regulation of operators and licensees; and a financial return for the state.
  • After more than six years of failed attempts in California, it is clear that stakeholders must reach substantial consensus in order for any bill to pass.
  • We must abandon the failed, divisive politics of the past that motivated anti-competitive and likely unconstitutional legislative proposals specifically intended to exclude one of the most successful and well-regulated iPoker service provider from California's market.
  • We must support legislation that allows California’s existing licensed gaming providers – including tribes, card rooms, and others -- to participate in the marketplace after stringent regulatory vetting for suitability.

 

​​Extend California’s Strict Consumer Protections and High Standards of Accountability to Intrastate Real-Money Online Poker.

  • Legislation should ensure safe, secure and regulated access to real-money online poker in California. 
  • Consistent with existing regulations for brick-and-mortar casinos, the California Gambling Control Commission and the state Department of Justice should have authority to ensure the integrity of consumer accounts, security of consumer personal data, accountability of the games, the ability to curb fraud or cheating by players, and other responsibilities necessary to maximize integrity of the games.
  • Licensees must demonstrate the ability to protect and safeguard vulnerable consumers, especially educating and assisting problem gamblers and excluding underage players.
  • Licensees should pay for the cost of regulation.

 

Ensure that California and Californians Benefit from State-Authorized Online Poker.

  • Real-money online poker could generate hundreds of millions of dollars for California each year -- funds that now are going overseas, and that could be used for essential programs like public schools, public safety, healthcare, roads, and social services. The legislation should include a state tax component assuring that California and Californians will benefit from state-authorized, real-money online poker.
  • Authorizing legislation should create a vibrant, safe and competitive marketplace that gives players a choice of operators and innovative marketing promotions that responsibly grow the market and maximize state revenues.

 

Require Stringent Regulatory Vetting of Operators and Service Providers Before Authorizing Licenses, Using the Same Proven Statutory Suitability Criteria that Have Served California Well for Nearly Two Decades.

  • Legislation should subject applicants for online poker licenses to the same rigorous statutory suitability and licensing standards that already apply to existing gambling establishments.
  • This means that before a license is issued, a thorough investigation must be completed by the California Gambling Control Commission – which has been a strong gambling regulator for the last 17 years – and the state Department of Justice, looking into the past and present personal and business dealings of prospective website owners/operators, key employees and service providers. This is the same model adopted by New Jersey and Delaware for their online poker regulations.

 

Regulators Should Determine Suitability of Participants. Legislation Should Not be Used to Provide Competitive Advantages.

  • Suitability for participating in California’s online poker market should be determined the same way it is determined for brick and mortar establishments, solely by the regulators, not the Legislature, and without mandating the use of exclusionary criteria that are arbitrary and likely unconstitutional.
  • Legislation should not be used as a vehicle to limit competition, restrict consumer choice, or to provide competitive advantages to a select few.