A source close to OnlinePokerReport suggests that PokerStars opposition leaders may yield over California online poker impasse, and a Stockton Mayor is fighting charges relating to a game of Strip Poker with minors.
On June 7, 2016, a coalition of Californian tribal nations including the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the Barona Band of Mission Indians, and the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians wrote to Assemblyman Adam Gray opposing his bill to legalise and regulate online poker in the state.
How ironic, that contained within the letter was the description of poker as the ‘quintessential American social game,’ and here we are five years after the FBI banned the pastime of playing the game online for real money, and millions of Californians still can’t play.
The issue is clear cut.
Humanity believes that people should pay for their sins.
Until payment pours forth in blood or money, then forgiveness cannot be considered.
When the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was impressed upon the online poker sites in 2006, all the publicly traded companies closed their cyber doors and left.
PokerStars, a privately owned entity, remained, and the customers flocked to the one true star shining brightly in the darkness.
They are now the largest online poker room in the world. Some major players in the game, and especially the tribes mentioned in the first paragraph of this article, believe that happened as a result of their refusal to obey the law in 2006, and they want their pound of flesh.
With New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware all opening an entirely regulated, licensed and legal iGaming framework, the pathway is clear for other states to follow. Geolocation and payment processing issues have been ironed out. It should be money for old rope for the rest of the states to follow.
California won’t follow because of this pound of flesh.
The coalition who oppose Adam Gray’s bill did so because they were not happy with the wording relating to the involvement of PokerStars, and now we have an impasse. On one side stands a coalition in opposition of PokerStars direct participation in a new online poker framework, and another group supporting PokerStars’ involvement from the off.
Both sides will have to concede ground if online poker is to return to California. Those in opposition think they have done as much as they can, and it’s the turn of the PokerStars red hand gang to start meeting them halfway.
I want to know what the government were doing between 2006 & 2011 because had they done their job we wouldn’t be in this ridiculous stalemate.
So who will crack first?
According to unidentified sources leaking news to OnlinePokerReport some of those in opposition to PokerStars’ involvement might be ‘willing to bend.’ The article written by Dave Palermo states that Assemblyman Gray and Agua Caliente Chairman Jeff Grubbe may have ‘convinced some coalition members to consider an amended version of AB2863′.
It seems highly likely that a modified version would preclude PokerStars from gaining entry into the market for the foreseeable future, and only after they have paid a huge some of money in recompense for the all the American tax dollars they dodged during 2006 & 2011.
The article goes as far as to say that a source believes the ‘Pechanga, Agua Caliente, and the Barona Band of Mission Indians,’ have agreed ‘in principle’ to an amended bill. The changes would require PokerStars to wait a decade to join the market in California and to pay a $60m fee when it does. Theoretically, the 10-year gap allows those who missed out on the post-UIGEA era to claw back the market share that fled to PokerStars as one of the only remaining options in the States at that time.
PokerStars and their supporters will no doubt fight tooth and claw to reduce the severity of the punishment citing commerce provisions of the US Constitution.
The author believes a floor vote on the future of online poker legislation could take place next week.
Watch this space.
Californian Mayor Fighting Strip Poker Allegations
In other California poker related news, Stockton Mayor, Anthony Silva, 41, is currently trying to clear his name after officials arrested him on charges of secretly recording confidential communications without consent, and providing alcohol to minors.
Silva was working at Silver Lake Camp, a place for disadvantaged youths, when officials arrested him at the tail end of the week, in connection with his role in games of Strip Poker on the campsite. The handcuffs came off at the sight of a $20,000 bail bond.
The investigation goes back as far as Sep 2015 when Homeland Security investigators confiscated Silva’s phone as he disembarked from a flight in San Francisco. It’s believed the phone contained four audio recordings of what appeared to be games of Strip Poker in his bedroom with several people naked and at least one of them 16-years old. Press reports also state that the phone contained over 20 photographs of the alleged games.
Before Silva reached office in Jan 2013, he was the CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Stockton. Silva is running for re-election this year and his legal team told officials that the allegations are part of a broader political smear campaign.
“No children were never endangered.” A member of Silva’s legal team told the press. “Law officials allowed this camp to be started even though they had this information since Nov 2015. If they thought children were in danger, they would not have allowed a camp to get started.”
It’s believed the games of Strip Poker occurred between Aug 5 – 9, 2015 and it doesn’t appear that Silva denies the games took place. Speaking of his innocence to reporters Silva said that ‘everyone involved was 18, he never endangered any children, didn’t secretly record anyone, or provide alcohol to anyone.’
The Amador County District Attorney’s Office are currently handling the case.