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California Tribe Prepares For Online Poker With Merger

The United Autumn Indian Community is not waiting for legislation in California before they make a move towards the online gambling industry. With legislation expected this year that would regulate intrastate Internet wagering, the California tribe has become proactive by partnering with

Bwin is known as one of the largest Internet gambling providers in the world. The company has dozens of online gambling sites operating in Europe, and they have been seeking a way to enter the US market once the laws are adjusted. The partnership with an Indian tribe will give Bwin the inside track on entering the US market.

The California Senate has already started moving on a bill that would allow licensed casinos to start operating online poker rooms. UAIC owns and operates Thunder Valley Casino Resort near Sacramento, and that would give them the right to offer online gambling if the bill in the Senate passes.

Bwin is a necessary compliment to the tribal casino, as European-based companies have been operating online casinos for years. One of the biggest fears of companies in the US is that they do not have the platform ready to go when the laws changed. Several US gaming companies have started the trend of partnering with foreign companies last year, and the UAIC is just continuing that trend. Bwin is also excited about the possibility of coming into the US in a place like California.

"California is the largest state in the US in terms of population and is known to have a significant number of poker players who like to play poker online," said Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger, in a statement released after the announcement of the partnership with UAIC. "Combining our own significant assets and resources with those of UAIC will create a strong partnership that is well-placed to seize the opportunities that will arise if appropriate online poker legislation is enacted in the Golden State."

Bwin also has their eyes on the national stage in the US. Federal lawmakers are considering several bills that would change the landscape of Internet gambling in the country. The Department of Justice opened the door for online gambling regulation late last year when they offered an opinion that only sports gambling is illegal under the Wire Act.

That opinion has been interpreted by many legal experts as the DoJ reversing their long-standing opinion that all forms of gambling were illegal under the Wire Act.

California is not the only state that has started moving towards regulated online poker. Iowa, Hawaii, Florida, and New Jersey also are moving in that direction. Nevada legislators passed an online gambling bill last year. Nevada regulators have started the process of collecting applications for online gambling licenses, and some analysts believe Nevada will have online casinos operational by the end of 2012.

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