Californian tribe to defy state law with online gaming launch

7 November 2014

Native American tribe, the IIpay Nation of Santa Ysabela, has defied Californian internet gambling law by launching its own real-money online gaming website in the US state.

Although the tribe had planned to launch an online poker site, the current website only offers real-money bingo at present.

However, if the tribe is able to avoid any major legal challenges from the state, it is expected to introduce some form of online poker service at a later date.

California is yet to legalise online gaming and does not have a regulatory framework in place for this form of gambling.

However, the tribe has stated that it is exercising its sovereign rights to offer Class II games as defined by the Indian Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988 while at the same time ensuring online gambling is regulated by its own tribal government and only take place on tribal lands.

Games that fall under the Class II category in the IGRA include poker and bingo while Class III games such as house-banked games and slot machines can only be offered under an agreement between the tribe and the state.

The tribe confirmed in a statement on its website that it currently has no plans to offer Class III gaming services.

Chris Wrieden, Santa Ysabel’s interactive director of marketing, told the website: “Some believe our promise to bring regulated cash poker games to California has all been a great big bluff, for any number of self-serving reasons.

“I can tell you it hasn’t been, it just takes time to put all of the pieces together.

“When we launch it will put our critics’ bluff theory to rest and when we accept our first online bet, we will be on our way to creating change for our industry.”