A.M. Scramble: Online Fight Continues, Bonomo Joins Online Exodus, Poker in India

It’s a brand new week, and the online poker situation in the United States seems to be changing on a daily basis. In Monday’s A.M. Scramble, we have more about the local fight over legislation in California, another big name in poker leaving the country to play online, and celebrations in India that take gambling to some unusual places in order to avoid trouble with the law.

California Tribes Fight For Legislation as Window Closes

As the push for online poker legislation at the federal level gains momentum, some states are continuing with their own efforts to legalize the game on a state level. The principals involved in lobbying on the federal level are concerned that local legislation could hinder their ability to seamlessly enact a national online poker law, but certain local jurisdictions see this as their last chance to have control over the flow of money and certain elements of power in the situation.

One state in which that kind of fight is going on is California. Commercials have begun airing around the Sacramento area in which two of the larger local Native American tribes, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians near Banning and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians near San Bernardino have been trying to rally local support. The ads claim that legalizing online poker in the area would generate $250 million in revenue and create thousands of jobs.

California state senator Lou Correa is part of a push to get legislation passed by September 9th, which is when the legislative session comes to a close.

“”If California doesn’t move ahead right now, the federal government will supersede California by passing their laws first,” said Correa, “and we will essentially be left with very little revenue – compared with what we can have if we’re the first one to implement the laws.”

Those trying to pass federal legislation are not the only opponents of legislation like this, however. Many smaller tribes in California fear the law as currently written would specifically benefit the two larger tribes, and their own fates would be uncertain. With a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, the situation should become a bit clearer in short time.

ZeeJustin is Malta-Bound

After the World Series of Poker, the thought of many pros turned to how they might once again be able to play on the biggest sites in the world, such as PokerStars. Quite a few headed up to Canada, and players such as Phil Galfond have already begun crushing the virtual tables. A few players, including Jon Aguiar, decided Mexico was a better choice. Some players are headed down to Costa Rica, as well, as that’s one of the other countries in which players can establish at least temporary residence.

Justin Bonomo, however, has decided to head to the tiny Southern European nation of Malta to resume playing online poker. In a facebook post on February 18th, Bonomo announced his intentions to play the World Poker Tour event in Malta on September 20th, and then to stay there for an extended amount of time.

For those interested, Bonomo may also be listing his car and apartment for sale shortly, so keep an eye out, if that’s the sort of thing you might be interested in.

Farmhouses in India Become Weekend Casino Hotspots

Americans are apparently not the only ones being denied the right to gamble freely. Residents of India, as part of the celebration of Janmashtami, the birth of Krishna, gamble as part of their celebration. Local police forces have prevented them from playing poker or other games within city limits. While some have traveled to Las Vegas or Macau, others headed to the only legal casino in India, in Goa.

For those who are unable to afford such luxuries, farmhouses on the edges of towns such as Bhopal and Ahmedabad have come to house card games with cash stakes. Marathon sessions go on throughout this weekend, culminating on Monday night. Outside of the glaring eyes of the law, they are able to play in peace.

Luck (and Skill) of the Irish

While Americans struggle to with a lack of online options, some leaving the country and some waiting for new laws, those outside of the United States continue to play freely. The Irish independent ran a story highlighting three players who are neighbors in Galway and have amassed a total of almost $7 million in lifetime tournament earnings.

Jude Ainsworth, Derek Murray, and Fintan Gavin have each had success on both the virtual felt and on the live tournament circuit. Ainsworth, the most successful of the three with over $4 million in lifetime earnings and the lone Irish member of Team PokerStars, has perhaps the most interesting story of all. He got into poker while studying molecular biology, but by the time he had graduated he had signed with PokerStars and a poker career was already in motion. You can read the piece here.

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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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