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  • Julie Jacobson / Associated Press file

    An online poker player competes during the gaming industry’s G2E conference in Las Vegas in 2011. In California, Indian casino tribes are now talking about how, of if, the state should legalize online poker. But a deal remains elusive.

  • Jose Luis Villegas /

    Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo.

The Buzz: California tribes still at odds over online poker

Published: Sunday, May. 25, 2014 - 5:52 pm
Last Modified: Sunday, May. 25, 2014 - 7:03 pm

California tribal casinos were deeply divided about how, or if, the state should legalize online poker.

Now tribes are talking, but a deal remains elusive because of key disagreements.

Robert Martin, chairman of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, said he would have no problem with allowing racetracks and advanced-deposit wagering facilities to offer online poker.

“I can’t answer for every tribe, but I can tell you that Agua Caliente would oppose that bill,” said Jeff Grubbe, chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. He noted that voters in 2004 rejected a measure to expand gambling at horse tracks.

Grubbe said his tribe and others want any legalized California online poker games to exclude operators such as PokerStars, which critics say has violated federal law. Such “bad actor” language would be a deal breaker, Martin responded. His tribe, which is working with PokerStars, thinks state regulators should make that call.

The two online poker bills in play are Assembly Bill 2291 by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, and Senate Bill 1366 by state Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana.

– Jim Miller


The leading candidates for state controller headed into the final weeks of the June 3 primary campaign with more than $2 million available to try to win over voters. Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez reported having more than $1.8 million on hand May 17 compared to $116,000 for Board of Equalization member Betty Yee. Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, a Republican, had $70,198 on hand after raising more than $287,000 since March 18 following her late entry into the controller’s race.

– Jim Miller


“It’s a process that we’ve become numb to.”

Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, Camarillo Republican, objecting Friday to vague or empty budget-related bills that Democrats pass and then substantially change later.

Read more articles by Jim Miller

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