Online poker site PrivateTable.com, brought to you by the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, appears to be pressing ahead with its launch, despite facing an imminent legal challenge from the State of California, which wants to pull the plug on its online gambling ambitions.
The California Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit against the Iipay last month as a direct result of the launch of its online bingo platform, DesertRoseBingo.com, accusing the tribal gaming operator of breaking state and federal laws and of violating its state compact by offering online gambling to Californians.
However, the Iipay believes it is its tribal sovereign right to offer Class 2 online gaming, defined as poker and bingo, in accordance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), legislation that was passed before the advent of the Internet. The tribe has called California’s lawsuit a “misguided attack” that threatens the rights of all tribes.
The Iipay Nation has long declared its intention to offer online poker, regardless of whether the state eventually opts to legalize and regulate the game or not, and the PrivateTable.com launch has been “imminent” for several months already.
In fact, the tribe surprised everyone by launching its bingo product first, and observers wondered whether it was an attempt to gauge the reaction of authorities and test the legal waters before unveiling the poker site. The reaction of the authorities has been pretty emphatic, of course, but this doesn’t seem to have deterred the Iipay, who appear to be readying PrivateTable.com for a real-money launch phase.
In the past few days, the site, which has offered play-money games for some time, has begun to advertise a first deposit bonus of $100 on any deposit about $15, as well daily freerolls that offer iTunes and Google Play gift cards to winners. It has also announced its attention to accept Visa and bitcoin as payment options.
Currently, however, Californians are unable to make any real-money deposits, and those who do are presented with a script error. Players making enquiries to customer support about depositing are presented with the following message:
“Thank you for your interest in PrivateTable! We currently are not accepting deposits but plan to do so very soon. Our development team is currently working on the payment processing integration which is why you got the script error. Once they are done with the integration and testing we will be sure to let you know. Initially there will be options for depositing using bitcoin and most major credit cards, with more options to follow.”
In the meantime, it’s clear the Iipay are prepared to take the fight to the state, adamant that the law allows them to offer online Class II gaming because it emanates from their servers on tribal land. California, meanwhile, will argue that because the players are not necessarily based on tribal land, the law is being violated.