Tribal Gaming Chief Pessimistic On Californian Online Poker

Parties are focused more on self-interest than what the public wants, says Santa Ysabel chairman

Although calling for legalised and regulated online poker in California, the chairman of the Santa Ysabel Tribal Gaming Commission, Dave Vialpando, opined this week that it was unlikely that such a goal will be achieved in 2015, blaming the self-interest of many of the gambling groups involved.
Vialpando observed in a statement: "Too many potential entrants to this market, including the state, are too busy trying to guide the structure of legislation to maximise the benefit to the constituency they represent, often to the exclusion or detriment of others, rather than concentrating on crafting a framework which best serves the needs of the gaming public.
"I fully support legal, well-regulated online gaming in California, as long as all potential entrants are afforded the opportunity to enter the market and artificial legislative barriers which serve no other purpose than exclusion to limit competition are kept out of the legislation."
He went on to observe that online gambling is the subject of significant public demand, and is the natural evolution for gambling.
The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel is currently involved in an intense court battle with the state of California and, more recently, the federal US Department of Justice over its right to offer online games like bingo.
In a recent press release, Virgil Perez, the tribal chairman, appealed for support from the National Indian Gaming Commission after Californian officials succeeding in securing a temporary restraining order on his tribe's online operation Desert Rose Bingo which effectively shuttered the enterprise (see previous InfoPowa reports).
Perez says the subsequent involvement of the federal government heralds a dramatic and dangerous change in its approach to Indian gaming.
"California makes the troubling argument that, while part of the Iipay Nation's gaming operation takes place on its reservation, a part of the activity occurs off the reservation," Perez claims in his latest statement.
"According to the State, this gives it the ability to control or prohibit all of our Tribe's gaming activity. Even worse, California also indicated to the court that it has no trust or faith in the ability of our tribe to regulate its own gaming activity, Class II or Class III."
Perez went on to claim that California is intent on re-writing the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and re-litigating cases it already lost, and said that his tribe is fighting to protect "…our inherent right to operate and regulate gaming activities on our lands."
Turning to the federal government's intervention in the issue, Perez claims:
"Now the federal government, through the Department of Justice's (DOJ) United States Attorney's Office, has decided to join the fray. The federal government's approach to our case has game changing implications for every other gaming tribe in the country – whether they operate land-based or interactive gaming. The DOJ is seeking to enjoin the Tribe from offering its Class II interactive gaming under the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
"The DOJ believes that Indian Gaming Regulatory Act does not apply to UIGEA. According to the DOJ, our Tribe's gaming commission's regulatory decisions are irrelevant. The position of the DOJ is that neither the Tribe nor the NIGC have any power or relevance in cases involving tribal gaming activity when there is an alleged violation of UIGEA.
"If the DOJ succeeds in marginalizing the NIGC and nullifying IGRA, many of our inherent sovereign rights will be rendered null and void. California and the DOJ will have returned us to the 1990s where the US Department of Justice – not tribes or the NIGC – decides the legality of tribal gaming."

Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa