California Indian tribe rejects online gaming legislation

22 June 2010
The Morongo Band of Mission Indians, who have been outspoken in their support of online poker legislation in California, surprisingly rejected a proposal by state Sen. Roderick Wright that would legalize the practice in the state, according to the Desert Sun.

The Morongo signed a letter drafted by the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN) that opposed Senate Bill 1485, which would establish a framework to authorize intrastate Internet gambling.

"We've always supported the concept of intrastate poker in California because of consumer protections, revenue to the state and the fact it would bring the game out of the shadows," Morongo spokesman Patrick Dorinson told the Desert Sun. "But we cannot support the bill in its present form."

Earlier this month, the Morongo were part of a coalition that voiced support of Wright's bill.

"With the introduction of S.B. 1485, California is one step closer to allowing the establishment of legal intrastate online poker Web sites that will offer consumer protections and provide desperately needed revenue for the state," the coalition said in a statement.

S.B. 1485 would make it illegal for "any person to play any gambling game provided over the Internet that is not authorized by the state."

TASIN is an association of 11 federally recognized Indian tribes. It sent the letter to Wright, the California Legislature, tribal governments and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A hearing on the legislation has been scheduled for June 29.