Online poker giant PokerStars has been trying to get back into the United States poker marketplace for some time. After losing out on a New Jersey casino and online gaming market as well as in Nevada, the group moved towards California. Partnering with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and three card rooms in the state, PokerStars was setting up for online game play. However, other tribes wanted to see a bad actor clause added to legislation which would not allow the poker room to operate in the state. Just two days ago, a consensus was reached between 13 tribes in the state with bill language that would leave PokerStars behind.
The Morongo Band of Mission Indians stated they would not be in favor of legislation that would exclude PokerStars with a bad actor clause as the regulator should be able to choose suitability. In a statement issued yesterday in response to the new tribal consensus, the following response was stated:
“We strongly oppose the so-called ‘bad actor’ language that is nothing other than a blatant attempt to provide certain interests with unfair competitive advantage by arbitrarily locking out trusted (internet poker) brands. We will vigorously oppose any legislation that includes this language.”
The statement further read that the proposed amendments by the tribal coalition that intend to lock out certain providers is in violation of the U.S. and California constitutions. The amendments would exclude from participation just for anti-competitive reasons, with companies that have never admitted to any wrong doing or been convicted of wrong doing.
PokerStars settled their case in the US with $731 million paid without ever admitting to doing anything wrong. The settlement agreement explicitly permitted the Rational Group, parent company of PokerStars, from applying to offer online poker in real money form on a state or federal level if regulation was introduced.
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