There are plenty of tribal gaming interests that would love to keep PokerStars out of California. However, the world’s largest poker site is definitely not going to let this happen without a fight. Not long after launching the website Californians4ipoker.com, which seeks to educate Golden State residents on poker, Stars is now running a radio ad campaign. Specifically, the recent advertisement explains how California doesn’t offer regulated online poker, which puts players at risk. Let’s discuss this ad more along with an opposing ad by one of the state’s tribes.
PokerStars Radio Ad Recap
This ad is sponsored by the Californians for Responsible iPoker (CRI), which includes Stars, the Commerce Casino, the Bicycle, Hawaiian Gardens, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. And here’s a recap for non-Californians of what the ad says:
Woman: “Hey honey, whatcha up to?”
Man: “Just looking to play online poker.”
Woman: “You’re not thinking of playing on one of those unregulated websites, though, right?”
Man: “Well, there aren’t any sites based in California because the state hasn’t put any regulations in place. This one’s probably fine.”
“Because California does not have regulations in place for online poker, consumers are at risk of fraud. And California is losing out on millions in revenues. Thankfully, California legislators have a plan to regulate it. This plan will protect consumers, enact strict safeguards to protect kids from gambling, and ensure only licensed, responsible companies operate here.
“Online poker is safe and regulated in dozens of countries and several US states. Go to Californians4iPoker.com and tell your legislators it’s time to regulate iPoker.”
Comparison to Ad by Viejas Band
The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians has run the most-blatant public attack against PokerStars’ inclusion in the California online poker market. Specifically, the Viejas-sponsored radio advertisement says, “We deserve to be protected from corrupt companies like PokerStars,” among other attacks against the iPoker giant. It’s a real Sheldon-Adelson-inspired piece that seeks to spread fear about PokerStars “gaining access to every computer, tablet and smartphone in the state.”
Rather than responding directly to Viejas, PokerStars focuses more on online poker regulation as a whole. Their goal is to simply educate Californians on how the state doesn’t currently offer legal online poker sites, opening consumers up to unsafe, unregulated sites.
One could take this to mean that Stars is pretty confident that they’ll be included in the market whenever it comes to fruition. And given that all sides need to be on the same page, it doesn’t appear that iPoker will happen in the state until certain tribal gaming interests back off their insistence that PokerStars doesn’t belong.