PokerStars’ California Coalition Grows
The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has joined the Morongo Band of Mission Indians in partnering up with Pokerstars. The agreement will see the tribe’s launch the state’s largest poker rooms with the online poker operator once the legislation legalizing online gambling is passed in California.
Pokerstars will now act as a sub-contractor to both tribes as well as the Bicycle Casino, Commerce Club, Hawaiian Gardens poker rooms. The original partnership, which was agreed in the early parts of April, was between the Morongo Tribe as well as the three casinos.
The San Manuel Tribe, upon announcing its partnership with Pokerstars, describes its decision to join the coalition as a reflection of a “new day where gaming interests must work together in order to finally pass online poker legislation in California.” The statement was referencing Amaya’s $4.9 billion acquisition of the Rational Group in June, a move that has also seen PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker make a return to New Jersey.
The decision to join the PokerStars coalition is the first big move the San Manuel Tribe has made since San Manuel Digital, the tribe’s iGaming subsidiary, hired Mathew Cullen, the former president of RecketPlay, as the new Chief Executive.
“We are convinced that the various interests must work together if we are to be successful in establishing a well-regulated environment and the best-in-class internet poker industry in California,” said San Manuel Chairwoman, Lynn Valubuena.
Robert Martin, the Morongo Tribe’s chairman, added that the decision by the San Manuel Tribe to join the coalition marks “a new day” in the group’s efforts to legalize online poker in California.
“We’re excited about the momentum and opportunities this new agreement represents in getting legislation passed,” continued Martin, “As Tribe’s come together on this issue, the opportunity for success grows.”
The agreement sees the San Manuel Tribe become the first entity to partner with PokerStars since Amaya bought the Rational Group in June of this year.
“We are looking forward to working with the legislature and with our other stakeholders to help develop and industry that will benefit California consumers and the state alike,” said Guy Templar, the Director of PokerStars group development.
The San Manuel Tribe were among the few Indian Tribe’s that did not speak out against PokerStars and the Morongo Tribe partnering up with the card rooms despite the fact that the California Tribal Business Alliance pledged to fight any legislation that would allow PokerStars to enter the state’s online poker industry. Something that alliance has called anti-competitive.
However, San Manuel was one of the 13 tribes in the area to agree on an online poker legislation that included the ‘bad actor’ clause, specifically designed to block any active operator in the California market from being issued or obtaining a license.
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