Ad campaign, grassroots advocacy website and poker celebrity tour announced.

SACRAMENTO – A coalition of groups in support of authorizing and regulating online poker in California announced today a statewide program to engage California citizens, businesses and others in a grassroots campaign to pass an online poker bill in California.

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. (TSX; AYA; Nasdaq: AYA), owner of PokerStars, today began airing 60 second radio ads and online advertising asking people to contact legislators and to urge them to protect consumers by authorizing and regulating online poker in California.  

In addition to the ad campaign, the coalition launched a new advocacy website, www.Californians4iPoker.com, which will serve as a portal for citizens, businesses, and poker players to engage in the conversation to authorize iPoker and connect with legislators to voice their support. 

Later this summer the “Let California Play!” PokerStars Pro Tour will launch, bringing PokerStars celebrity poker pros to cardrooms throughout California as a means of educating citizens and engaging the thousands of California live poker players in the iPoker conversation.

“We intend to push online poker over the finish line,” said San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena. “Authorizing online poker by creating a strictly regulated marketplace in California is the right thing to do for consumers, and it’s the right thing to do for the state.”

“We believe strongly that regulating iPoker is good for consumers, and we will not stand by and let a few entrenched interests derail this important consumer issue,” said Morongo Band of Mission Indians Chairman Robert Martin. “Our campaign is about offering Californians choice and much needed consumer protections, and is intended to engage poker players and others who support state regulation of iPoker.”

“This year we’ve seen a lot of positive momentum and that has obviously scared those who want to derail online poker forever,” said Keith Sharp of Falk & Sharp, representing the three cardrooms. “By taking our effort directly to consumers and getting legislators’ constituents engaged, we think we can disrupt the logjam.”

“As a global home of innovation, technology and consumer rights, it’s time California updated its old laws and regulated online poker to protect consumers, and bring new revenue to California,” said Eric Hollreiser, Head of Corporate Communications, Amaya Inc. and PokerStars.

The Californians for Responsible iPoker website will be the hub for all legislative advocacy efforts going forward, allowing people to sign up, join the coalition and receive regular updates, and ultimately will allow constituents to directly connect with their legislators.  The website also lists Top 10 Reasons to Authorize and Regulate Online Poker in California as well as the coalition’s guiding Principles for Establishing Online Poker in California.

The “Let California Play!” PokerStars Pro Tour is a collaboration between PokerStars and cardrooms that support authorizing online poker in California. More details will be forthcoming about the Pro Tour which hits the road this summer.