After being banned for over two years, online gambling is slowly entering the US market with the states of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware legalizing online gambling in the last year or so. There have been rumours that another ten states are contemplating the legalization of online poker and California is reported to be one of them.
While the state of California debates the pros and cons of online gambling, a tribal group in California has decided that it will no longer wait for the state to make a decision and has gone ahead to launch an online poker website on the basis that launching an online gambling website for the tribe was “its sovereign right under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.”
The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel of California has formed a company called Santa Ysabel Interactive and launched a poker website at www.privatetable.com. The Private Label website will be governed by laws that are very similar to what Nevada and Delaware use. All online poker players must be residents of California and also physically present in the state to access the Private Table website. The website’s servers are located on tribal lands and the tribal group will use the latest software available to track and monitor all player interactions.
The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel tribe issued a statement which said
In offering online gaming through Santa Ysabel Interactive, the Tribe is exerting its sovereign right under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to regulate and conduct Class II gaming from the tribe’s reservation. Class II gaming, as defined by IGRA, includes poker and bingo, but does not include slot-based games or house-banked games, such as blackjack.
This move by the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel comes at a time when there are two bills in the California under consideration. It will take a couple of months for the Private Label website to register and analyze the response. Many poker analysts believe that the state of California will be the next state in the US to legalize online poker and there are a number of online gambling companies waiting to launch operations and capture initial market share.
There is not much that the authorities can do to shut down the Private Label website. The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel also went on to say that
Santa Ysabel’s online gambling, as designed, is in compliance with both state and federal law as tribes are considered sovereign nations in the U.S. and inter-tribal gaming employing the Internet has been legal for several years