The latest news reported and the tribal leaders confirmed that execs from some of California's most powerful and successful tribal casinos have been meeting privately to hammer out a proposal to legalize online poker.
Recent developments with legalization in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, the launch of the first Nevada-licensed online poker site, and the possibility of a federal bill have persuaded the tribes to reconsider their opposition to online poker legalization in California.
Tribes opposed past proposals to legalize online poker because of fears that online gambling would undercut tribes' casinos. Explaining that the tribe's position on that issue 'is evolving", Mark Macarro, chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, said: "Tribes are primed right now to begin moving it, to begin working with state legislators to see something to fruition.'
Barry Brokaw, an Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians lobbyist, revealed that: 'A lot of the tribes have been working together and we've made strides. I think there is a possibility that something may develop pretty soon, and we can have some serious discussions with lawmakers in the building and see what we can come up with.'
Although it has been more than three years since some tribes began lobbying lawmakers to legalize online poker, with hundreds of hours of public hearings, yet without a single legislative vote, Jerry Levine, an attorney working with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, thinks the tribes can craft a unified proposal.
San Manual and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians were members of the now-defunct group COPA that sponsored an online poker proposal last year.
State Senators Wright and Correa have again introduced separate legalization bills, and the former politician clashed with Leslie Lohse, chairwoman of the California Tribal Business Alliance, claiming that her opposition to online poker was based on a misunderstanding of relevant law and the constitution of California.