San Manuel Joins Morongo, Card Clubs and Amaya in Push for Online Poker

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The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has reportedly signed on to an existing business agreement with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, California's three largest card clubs (the Commerce Club, the Hawaiian Gardens Casino, and the Bicycle Casino) and Amaya Gaming Group to operate a licensed online poker site in California.

On November 11, the San Manuel Band announced it would join the coalition to not only operate the poker site in California, but also work to advocate for laws that soften California's tough online gaming regulations.

"We are pleased to join this coalition," said Lynn Valbuena, chairwoman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, in a news release. "We are convinced that the various interests must work together if we are to be successful in establishing a well-regulated environment and the best-in-class Internet poker industry for California."

PokerNews.com reported that almost three months ago, one of the two online poker bills introduced by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer to legalize online poker was shelved by State Sen. Lou Correa because the parties could not come to an agreement on the bill’s language. The Los Angeles Times reported that Jones-Sawyer’s second bill was pending as it had not moved through the committee process and no hearing date has been set.

Guy Templer, Group Business Development Director with PokerStars said, "San Manuel is a strong, forward thinking operator and is a great partner to join our coalition in advocating for the development of an open and well regulated iPoker market in California. We are looking forward to working with the legislature and with other stakeholders to help develop an industry that will benefit California consumers and the state alike."

At least 750,000 to 1,000,000 players in California would participate in Internet poker if it was legal, Capitol Weekly projected. And if legalized, it would “generate [revenue] more than $260 million annually and nearly $400 million annually within a decade,” the paper said.

In the U.S., online poker is legal in only three states: Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey.