PokerStars to Push California Regulators this Week

May 19th, 2015 | by Greg Shaun
PokerStars to host online poker demonstration in California.

PokerStars is sending Daniel Negreanu into the regulatory fight in California. (Image:

The push for regulated online poker in California received a boost this week thanks to PokerStars and two of its leading pros, Daniel Negreanu and Jason Somerville.

Intent on contributing to the recent wave of positive momentum that’s currently sweeping through The Golden State, PokerStars will be hosting a hands-on poker demonstration in Sacramento on May 21.

To help bolster its cause and give local legislators an insight into the industry, PokerStars will put be putting two of its more familiar faces to work.

PokerStars Using its Star Power

“Will be in Sacramento Thursday to talk politics and online poker on behalf of @PokerStars. Feels like the right time to get CA on board,” tweeted Daniel Negreanu.

As well as talking poker regulation, Negreanu and Somerville will be taking part in a free-play online poker match so members of the local media, as well as government officials, can get a feel for how the game is played.

When the action goes down on Thursday, it will do so at the same time as the California Gaming Conference. Although the two events aren’t linked, the presence of senior gaming officials should help bolster the operator’s PR efforts.

In addition to being one of the most recognizable poker players in the industry, Daniel Negreanu has a certain amount of gravitas with the wider public and it’s this reputation PokerStars will be looking to leverage later this week.

The Negreanu Effect

On a personal level, this is one of Negreanu’s first public declarations about US online poker since he spoke to back in April.

Talking to the New Jersey based media outlet during the WPT World Championship, Negreanu stated that more states need to get on board if the industry is going to survive.

“It depends what it looks like. If the states aren’t going to get on board and work together for interstate gambling, it won’t work. I don’t know what effect PokerStars will have on the dynamic, but I think having the company involved is going to help the industry as a whole,” the pro told NJC.

As it stands, online poker regulation appears to be closer than ever in California and a concerted effort by some of the game’s leading figures could be the final push officials need to back the industry.

However, there’s no guarantee that this, or any future efforts, will convince all concerned that online poker is a positive thing for the state.

One of the biggest factors currently preventing the clear passage of bills such as Adam Gray’s AB 431 passing through California’s regulatory matrix is the Pechanga/ Agua Caliente coalition.

The Mission Indian tribes are currently working in unison to impede the legislative process; something which has caused gridlock.

Whether PokerStars’ forthcoming efforts can help make any inroads into this blockage remains to be scene.


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