The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel has launched the online poker site PrivateTable.com with the intention of offering real money play in the coming days.
The site currently only offers free play poker; however, Dave Vialpando, Chairman of the tribe’s gaming commission, confirmed to pokerfuse that the site will offer real money online poker “within a matter of days.”
Only residents of California will be allowed to play for real money once those games go live. In addition, real money players must be physically located within the state and be at least 18 years of age.
Lawmakers in California have been trying to pass online poker legislation for years and are currently considering two bills that would regulate online poker within the state.
However, tribal leaders for Santa Ysabel are moving forward with their launch in spite of the gridlock that has hampered efforts to legalize internet poker in what would likely be the largest internet poker jurisdiction in the world.
Under the legal advice of online and interactive gaming law specialist Martin D. Owens Jr. Santa Ysabel contends that they are within their legal rights to offer poker—which is classified as Class II gaming under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA)—over the internet.
“The Tribe supports the effort by the Legislature to enact interactive gambling legislation in the State, but has decided to rely on the tribal sovereignty and the provisions of the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) to offer I-poker from the Tribe’s reservation,” Vialpando stated in a press release.
In 1988 IGRA authorized tribes to regulate and offer gaming as part of their tribal sovereignty, and since there is no specific prohibition on online poker in California, it is the tribe’s position that it is “in compliance with both state and federal law.”
There are currently no plans to offer online slots or other casino backed games that require a state compact to operate.
Santa Ysabel formed a partnership with the Kahnawake Gaming Commission to host part of its igaming servers on the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake as part of an Inter-Jurisdictional Agreement with the igaming regulator.
Santa Ysabel has also obtained a letter of support from Peter Greenhill, CEO of e-Gaming Development for the Isle of Man—one of the most respected regulatory bodies in internet gaming whose clients include PokerStars.
The regulations governing PrivateTable are “more stringent than those provided for in either of the pending bills,” according to Vialpando.
Play will take place on a modified version of the IG Soft software—a version of which is currently in use on the Winning Poker Network that includes skins Americas Cardroom, Black Chip Poker and BetCRIS.
The tribe has spent the last two years in planning and development including customizations to the IG Soft software.
Financial transactions will be processed by Finpay.net. Deposits will be accepted by credit card and Bitcoin.