Sunday, August 31, 2014


The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel has announced that the online poker site it planned to launch earlier this month will be delayed indefinitely, according to PokerUpdate, an online gambling newsletter. Representatives of the tribe told the publication that they have not set a new launch date, pending "double and triple checking everything."

The article cited speculation that the delay is due to lingering concerns about the legality of the online venture, called Although tribal representatives insist that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) allows the tribe to proceed, the California state legislature has not yet legalized online poker for California residents. Currently, Californians are able to play for play-money, but online gambling for real money remains illegal in the state.

However, that could change, according to a second article, this one in CardPlayer, another online news source. In an August 29 story, writer Brian Pempus reported that law professor and gambling expert I. Nelson Rose believes California will legalize online poker next year. Rose believes that "gaming interests in the state are more aligned that ever before on the internet poker issue." Tribes and commercial gambling companies have lobbied for the change, but Rose said election year politics got in the way of passage in 2014. Nevada already has approved online poker; New Jersey and Delaware have approved multiple online options, including slots as well as poker and other games.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


'The long-standing image of gambling as a no-doubt winner for state governments has quietly gone the way of a bettor's bankroll after too many hours at the tables', according to an August 10 article in the New York Times.

The report suggests that New York State's decision to "charge headlong" into the casino business may not produce the revenue and job creation benefits that supporters, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, have promised as a "powerful economic jump-start" for economically stagnant regions of the state. Four regional full-service gambling resorts are expected to win approval this year and open next year.

Analysts and experts interviewed by the Times suggested that the gambling market already may have reached the saturation point in the Northeast. They cite casino closings in Atlantic City and cost-cutting measures at Foxwoods as just a few indications of shrinkage in the regional gaming market. In addition, the article notes that at least four of the state's nice racetrack casinos (racinos) could be "undercut and endangered" by the new casinos.

The article highlights another challenge for state officials: "choosing between areas in the greatest need of economic assistance and those where a casino could deliver the greatest impact for the state." The state comptroller's office has warned that most of the players in regional casinos will come from nearby communities rather than outside the state, producing no net gain in economic benefit.

Tribal casinos in New York were threatened with expansion in their own backyards unless they agreed to share revenues with the state. They agreed to the state’s terms, and now the Mohawk, Seneca and Oneida tribes are paying hundreds of millions into New York State coffers. The tribes are no longer actively opposing the state's effort to open new gambling venues.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


U. S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) have sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Attorney General Eric Holder urging them to return to the previous reading of the Wire Act of 1961, reports the August 1 edition of PokerNewsDaily online. In December 2011, the Justice Department reinterpreted the Wire Act, issuing a statement that the law "no longer bans gambling over the Internet as long as the betting is not on the outcome of a sporting event."

According to the online report, the three senators say the DOJ opinion "could usher in the most fundamental change in gambling in our lifetimes by turning every smart phone, tablet and personal computer in our country into a casino available 24 hours a day." The letter expresses their concern that online gambling could "open the door to money laundering and other criminal activity," and "prey on children and society's most vulnerable."

In March this year, Senator Graham introduced a bill to return the Wire Act to its original interpretation. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced a companion bill in the House. Neither Chamber has taken action on the proposed legislation.

The member tribes of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) adopted a set of principles in April 2014 to guide the association's response to any significant internet gaming legislation that may be introduced in Congress. They include:

1)  Indian tribes are sovereign governments with a right to operate, regulate, tax and license internet gaming, and those rights must not be subordinated to any non-federal authority;

2) Internet gaming authorized by Indian tribes must be available to customers in any locale where internet gaming is not criminally prohibited;

3) Consistent with long-held federal law and policy, tribal revenues must not be subject to tax;

4) Existing tribal government rights under tribal-state compacts and Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) must be respected;

5) The legislation must not open up the IGRA for amendments;

6) Federal legalization of internet gaming must provide positive economic benefits for Indian Country; and,

7) Indian tribes possess the inherent right to opt into a federal regulatory scheme to ensure broad-based access to markets.

MIGA Executive Director John McCarthy said Minnesota tribes have not taken a formal position on internet gambling, but generally support the NIGA principles, which underscore federal policies supporting Indian self-determination and the U.S. Constitution's recognition of tribes as sovereign governments.