August 20 – In an attempt to leverage their clout in the California poker industry, 21 tribes have joined forces in an attempt to influence the direction of upcoming gambling legislation. The group, called the California Intertribal Intrastate Poker Consortium, will be one of two limited legal companies (LLCs) that are a part of the California Online Poker Association. (COPA)
Patrick Dorinson, spokesman for the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, told California’s Capitol Weekly, “We have 21 tribes [in the consortium] at this point.” “We anticipate by the end of the day we will have quite a few more. We have some tribes with some substantial gaming in the state.”
The move to form the California Intertribal Intrastate Poker Consortium is seen as a preemptive one, allowing the tribes a better chance at sharing in the profits should the state legalize an intrastate online poker network. It is believed that hundreds of thousands of California residents currently play at sites such as PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, spending as much as $1 billion annually for online poker.
Although the consortium has an inside track to be included in a new system, intrastate online poker rooms in California is not a certainty. In 2008, former Assemblyman Lloyd Levine attempted to pass a bill. In June of this year, Senator Rod Wright authored another bill to legalize intrastate online poker in California; he later cancelled a hearing on the bill in his own committee, with no further action scheduled.
California is attempting to enact legislation in advance of any federal laws that could undermine their efforts and draw precious revenue away from the state. The California Intertribal Intrastate Poker Consortium is one of the groups trying to position itself to be involved in such a state-run system.