Ready or Not, California Indian Tribe Launching Real Money Online Gambling

The IIpay Nation of Santa Ysabela is taking matters into their own hands when it comes to regulated online poker.

After years of waiting around for politicians to come up with a coherent plan for online gambling, the California tribe is launching its own real money bingo and poker site; whether the Government likes it or not.

As of this writing, the IIpays are only offering real money bingo on their main site,, but tribal leaders have promised to add online poker to the slate as soon as possible.

How to Launch RMG in California

California’s attempts to legalize online poker have been repeatedly stymied by lobbyists from a few of the state’s largest tribes.

These major players aren’t interested in sharing casino revenues with smaller bands in the more competitive online market. After all, a tribe’s physical location is pretty important for a land-based casino, but it doesn’t mean much for a web-based operation.

The Ilpays are doing an end run around all this politicking by invoking their rights to offer limited gaming under the Federal Indian Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988. That legislation allows tribes to offer poker and bingo as part of their “sovereign rights.”

Are the Ilpays Bluffing?

Despite the Ilpays’ contention that they’re free to offer online poker to Golden State residents, the tribe has yet to actually launch their real-money poker site.

Whether they’re waiting to see how California authorities react to their challenge, or just wading through technical difficulties, no one really knows. Tribal leaders, however, recently told they’re not bluffing:

I can tell you it hasn’t been, it just takes time to put all of the pieces together. When we launch it will put our critics’ bluff theory to rest and when we accept our first online bet, we will be on our way to creating change for our industry.

More than anything, the Ilpay California poker play is the result of a very broken political system. The Ilpays are unable to offer state regulated igaming because special interests have hijacked the process at the state level.

At the same time, Congress’ inability to pass any legislation at the Federal level has left a vacuum that allows any tribe with as much moxie as the Ilpays to do whatever they want.