The worlds largest online poker room PokerStars has penned a deal with a coalition of influential Californian Tribes that could see them enter into the US regulated poker market. Only the basics have been revealed however the deal concerns many large establishments that all want a stake in any regulated Californian poker action. The initial press release came from The Morongo Band of Mission Indians, The Bicycle Casino, The Commerce Club, The Hawaiian Gardens Casino and PokerStars owners The Rational Group creating what would be a very powerful group of stakeholders.
Maybe the biggest news to be taken from that press release is that not only would Stars be providing the poker platform and the technology side within the deal, but that they would also be the brand name, however full details of that have yet to come to light. The information provided on the PR is mainly regarding what this group of companies could provide to regulated poker in the state and how they would work together to “advocate for legislation that extends California’s tough, long-established gaming regulations to include intrastate online poker and thus ensure stringent consumer protection, consumer choice and maximum revenue for the state”. This however means that the bad actor clause would need to be removed from both pieces of legislation that are currently being considered regarding online poker in California, as both have bad actor clauses meaning that PokerStars would be excluded from doing business in the state.
This news coincided nicely, and of course purposefully, with a California Assembly meeting to discuss this very subject and although the bad actor clause was mentioned more than a few times, not once was there an uttering of the PokerStars name, however it was clear that ‘bad actor’ was merely being substituted for PokerStars many times. There may be a deal in place but there are still many hurdles to jump for the deal to come to fruition as, just like in New Jersey, there are sure to be opponents of Stars joining in the California poker party.