Iipay Facing UIGEA Violations While PokerStars Coalition Blasts AB 9

Written By James Guill on December 9, 2014

There’s been a lot of legal wrangling this week in California following the filing of AB 9. The PokerStars Coalition has already issued a statement and is blasting the new bill. Meanwhile, the case against the Iipay Nation mounts as the Department of Justice has filed a complaint against the tribe citing violations of the UIGEA.

Department of Justice Files UIGEA Injunction Against Desert Rose Bingo

It appears that legalized online gambling with the Iipay Nation will be short lived. On Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California filed a complaint against the Iipay claiming that Desertrosebingo.com violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

The government is seeking a temporary restraining order as well as preliminary and permanent injunctions against the Iipay to prevent them from accepting funds or credit in connection with the operation of the Desert Rose Bingo. The site currently offers online bingo to players in California 18 years and older.

According to the Iipay, they believe the site is legal because the VPN technology used to operate the sites ensures that bets are actually placed on tribal land and not off-site. They refer to it as proxy betting.

California has filed similar injunctions against the tribe and it is possible the DOJ’s case and the state case could merge. The hearing on the California matter began on Thursday at 2 pm.

PokerStars Coalition Calls AB 9 a “Rehash” of Old Bills

It didn’t take long before the “PokerStars Coalition” filed their rebuttal against AB 9. The new online poker bill is similar to the Unified Tribal bill released over the summer and still contains a bad actor clause. In fact, new language in the clause looks to actually target Amaya and their purchase of PokerStars assets.

The coalition issued their own statement on Thursday, blasting the bill as a rehash of past bills. Read the statement below:

As a coalition, we are committed to working with legislators and our other partners in the gaming community to pass Internet poker legislation in 2015 that establishes a vibrant, competitive marketplace, provides superior consumer protections, and ensures that the state receives a reasonable return. 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.

Unfortunately, AB 9 is a rehash of previously unsuccessful proposals. Any bill that seeks to establish artificial competitive advantages for some, while denying Californians the best online poker experiences, will only serve to divide the community and will be opposed by our coalition.

The PokerStars Coalition includes the Morongo and San Manuel tribes as well as the Bicycle Casino, Commerce Casino and Hawaiian Gardens casino. PokerStars was sold to Amaya Inc earlier this year for $4.9 billion and Amaya immediately began petitioning New Jersey to allow the site to offer iGaming. While final approval has yet to be issued, most feel it is a matter of time. However, PokerStars’ entry in California has been a hotbed of controversy and unless things change it could continue to stall any real movement on this or any California online poker bill.

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James Guill

Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

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