Recently, those in support of online poker legalization in California agreed that it is in their best interests to change their position on two major issues that are preventing the legalization of the game in the state. One of these issues is the bad actor clause, which would serve to prevent PokerStars from gaining entry into California’s newly regulated online poker industry. The other issue is related to giving the horse racing industry a share of the market.
Recently, Seth Palansky, vice president (corporate communications) of Caesars Interactive Entertainment, said that “as long as everyone is on a level playing field and the regulations are set up as a win, win, win, we’ll enter the market.”
A number of native tribes in California are already in support of allowing PokerStars into California’s newly regulated online poker market. Last week, the United Auburn Indian Community, the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians, and the Pala Band of Mission Indians wrote to the sponsors of California’s online poker bills that “bad actor” clauses, if any, shouldn’t apply to companies, but only to individuals.
Bad actor clauses in online poker bills in US states are meant chiefly to prevent PokerStars from gaining entry into the market. PokerStars had protested fiercely against these bad actor clauses. Last June, the company stated: “We strongly oppose the so-called “bad actor” language that is nothing other than a blatant attempt to provide certain interests with an unfair competitive advantage by arbitrarily locking out trusted brands.”
Amaya, which currently owns PokerStars and its sister site Full Tilt Poker, is happy about Caesar’s change in position. Eric Hollreiser said in a number of tweets that the operator was “encouraged by the recent comments from Caesars, California tribes including Pala, Rincon, and United Auburn and several dozen card rooms who believe that working together is best way to promote the industry, protect individual freedom & counter misleading, negative campaign of self-interested, anticompetitive groups.”
The United Auburn, the Rincon, and Pala tribes stated in the same letter that they are no longer against the horse racing industry grabbing a share of the poker market because they want the game to be legalized at the earliest possible.
Supporters of the bad actor clause, however, still exist in California. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians are still demanding the exclusion of PokerStars and the horse racing industry from the Californian market.