The regulated California online poker market is the most coveted in the U.S. It is by far the largest state. Its population is comparable to Poland. Its economy would be the eighth largest in the world if it were a country. Many poker sites, tribes and card clubs are fighting to get a piece of this future industry.
The Bicycle, Commerce, and Hawaiian Gardens casinos have all partnered with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. Their future partner should they get their way is PokerStars.
PokerStars is by far the most controversial potential operator in California. Most tribes in California and some smaller card clubs oppose any participation by PokerStars in the market. These opponents are so passionate about that opinion that they want the state to include language that would exclude any company that accepted U.S. players after December 31, 2006 from operating in California.
PokerStars would offer a unique perspective that could benefit many aspects of the industry. Its expertise is second to none. Many players would argue that PokerStars has the best software platform in the world. Full Tilt Poker’s software is also often described as exceptional. PokerStars also owns that platform.
The PokerStars brand is the strongest in the poker world. Even three years after it left the U.S., players still recognize it. Its dedication to customer service is also a strong point. All of this may help sway players that are giving action to offshore sites, something that has been a problem in regulated states.
WSOP.com is the largest Nevada operator and the second largest in New Jersey in terms of cash game traffic. Caesars Entertainment operates Harrah’s Rincon. It is a tribal casino belonging to the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians. This makes it easy to expect WSOP.com’s entry into the California market.
One of the advantages WSOP.com would give California is its massive brand recognition. Its annual tournament series in Las Vegas is the biggest in the world.
California’s borders Nevada, which is where the annual World Series of Poker is held. This makes the potential for using the WSOP as a promotion even more viable than in other markets. There are also circuit events that travel around the country.
Station Casinos operates a casino on land that belongs to the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. The casino is about 50 miles north of San Francisco.
Ultimate Gaming is a subsidiary of Station Casinos. This would make the licensing process easier. This partnership could potentially be the only one in California where the operator owns its software.
Station Casinos only operates one casino in California and it has only been open since late 2013. This may not provide the company with a viable mailing list by itself. Its Las Vegas locals’ casinos are likely to have a vast database of California gamblers.
Ultimate Poker was the first regulated online poker site in U.S. history. It launched in Nevada on April 30, 2013. It also operates online poker and casino games in the New Jersey regulated market.
A previous bill appeared to have been aimed at giving Betfair the green light to operate in California without having to partner with a brick and mortar company. This bill would have allowed racetracks and advanced deposit wagering systems.
This would have included Betfair’s TVG, a website and cable network that accepts horse racing wagers from California and many other states. This database of players is especially valuable as it includes players that are already familiar with placing wagers over the Internet.
Pala Interactive is the interactive company linked to the Pala Band of Mission Indians. Jim Ryan, former CEO of Ultimate Bet and Party Gaming, is now CEO of Pala Interactive.
The company is eligible for the issuance of a transactional waiver in New Jersey if it finds a partner in that market. It is widely believed that Pala Interactive would use a platform developed from the former Ultimate Bet software.
We attempted to reach out to Pala Interactive to see if the former UB software would be used by the company. Its website is just one page and has no contact information.