Tribal online poker service to launch in California next week

22 August 2014

The Santa Ysabel Tribal Development Corporation has announced that it will launch its real-money online poker service in the US state of California next week, according to various reports.

Dave Vialpando, chairman of the commission, said that the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel would be “flipping the switch on for real-money sometime between [August] 26 and 28”.

The real-money service will be open to players over the age of 18 that are located within California’s borders.

The launch will come despite online poker legislation having stalled in the state.

Earlier this month, iGaming Business reported that a bill to legalise online gaming in California had been withdrawn by state Senator Lou Correa, ending any hopes of securing approval this year.

However, Vialpando stressed that the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel is legally justified to offer online poker in the state.

“Our authority to offer class II gaming from our reservation is not prohibited by any statute,” Vialpando told the website.

“In fact, we believe it is covered by IGRA. We have been fully cooperative with all the government agencies that have asked us questions, in fact with anyone who has asked us questions.

“Most of our regulations are public documents, so it’s pretty much full disclosure for us.”

In an effort to uphold standards of responsible gambling, Vialpando said that the tribal venture has formed an alliance with the California Council on Problem Gambling and created a model responsible gambling program for online gambling providers.

“As the chairman of the Santa Ysabel Gaming Commission my concern is to cross all the Ts and dot all the Is on the regulatory,” said Vialpando.

“It has been very labour intensive. Some tribes will want the state to create that framework and then they will fill in the blanks for their particular property.

“We are encouraging other tribes to follow us because we feel our product is solid and economically viable. Ultimately, it will benefit the tribe and we are looking forward to that.”

Related article: Online gaming bill in California dropped for 2014