California’s online gambling bill loses momentum

The possibility of lifting California’s ban on online poker seems far from happening as PokerStars has stopped pushing for it.

US.- Despite reports by some analysts that said that California was likely to be the fourth state to legalise online poker, there seems to be “less than a 50 percent chance” for that to happen in 2017, according to the California Nations Indian Gaming Association’s chairman Steve Stallings. Since the black friday indictment, only Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware are the only three states to have legal online poker activity in the United States.

PokerStars, the online poker world leader was pushing hard to get it legalised in the Golden State. Amaya Inc, its parent company, had partnered with several land based casinos such as the Hawaiian Gardens Casino, Commerce Casino and the Bicycle casino to prove that they approved online gambling legalisation in California. The Canada based corporation also got the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians on board, in order to show that almost every operator supported lifting the ban.

Nonetheless, Amaya failed to bring in several other tribes that are not as supportive as the other two. The main reason, as they argued, is that PokerStars operated in the state after the black friday ban, which made them gain an advantage over the tribal operators as its client base continue to grow.

Over the last few months, the company has been involved, directly and indirectly, in several investigations by the authorities that have force them to cut back on their efforts to get the online poker bill passed in 2017. First, the Bicycle casino got implicated in a federal investigation that was related to alleged money laundering.

But the major problem that affected Amaya were the charges filed aginst former chairman and CEO David Baazov and some associates for insider trading. The company tried to distance itself from the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) investigation but both cases seem to have impacted on PokerStars’ aspirations.

As the corporation’s efforts have diminished, there has been speculation that it may have to do with PokerStars’ new business strategy to focus on its online casino games and sports betting departments. None of these activities are included in the online gaming bill that’s on the table for California and that might be affecting Amaya’s plans.

However, there hasn’t been any signs that it will stop pushing for online poker legalisation in the state as it will enter the market and provide the technology for the tribal casinos. The industry moves in California around US$4 billion and is second only to Nevada’s, which makes the bill a good opportunity for PokerStars to expand its presence in America.