California Indians Hold Online Poker Summit

Would it be racist to call the conference a pow-wow?

by , Jan 13, 2010 | 3:28 pm

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association’s 15th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference got underway yesterday, in Palm Springs … and one hot topic of discussion seems to be dominating all others: Internet poker.

As is always the case in regulatory debates, it’s about who gets what cut. And the California Indians are split over what their involvement in it all should be, if any.

From the Palm Springs Desert Sun:

Jacob Appelsmith, bureau chief of the California Department of Justice Bureau of Gambling Control, called the Internet poker initiative that could resurface in 2010 a complex, difficult issue for tribes.

It goes to the heart of tribal sovereignty, Appelsmith said. Tribal involvement in intrastate poker legislation with California card rooms also holds potential to jeopardize the exclusivity rights that tribes have to conduct gaming, he said.

The initiative already has polarized tribes, among them the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, which has not wavered in its objection to intrastate online poker with tribes and California card rooms.

And how ’bout this kicker:

Daniel Tucker, chairman of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation and newly elected chair of CNIGA, the nonprofit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments, told tribal leaders in a letter last week that the drive by members of Congress to legalize Internet gaming nationwide represents the greatest threat to Indian gaming in the past 20 years.

Reminds me of Texas vs. Oklahoma legal battles … and the Californindians are still deciding which side to fight for.


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