Thomas Laforgia anti-PokerStars ad CA online poker

As Amaya ramps up its lobbying efforts for online poker in California, the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians have responded in kind, with what now appears to be a multi-pronged smear campaign aimed at Amaya’s PokerStars platform.

A Viejas-sponsored banner advertisement, appearing prominently on the Sacramento-based Sacbee.com, read: “Tell your legislator: No PokerStars con game in California.” Clicking on the image links users to the state government’s “Find a Representative” tool.

The banner appears only a day after Viejas launched a series of anti-PokerStars radio spots on California airwaves, in which the tribe called PokerStars a group of “Internet scam artists and con men.” Like the Sacbee banner, the radio message urged listeners to contact their state representatives.

The tribe, which operates the eponymous Viejas Casino, has aligned with eight other tribal governments in opposing AB 431, the online gaming bill currently progressing through the state legislature.

The alliance wrote to Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez in May, urging him to keep AB 431 from passing through the House Appropriations Committee, of which Gomez is chairman.

But a recent vote saw the bill advance through the committee, which has left PokerStars and its tribal casino allies in an advantageous position.

Thomas Laforgia
Thomas Laforgia - New York-based Thomas Laforgia has covered a wide range of topics in his career, which has seen his work on film, crime, gaming, and other topics published in the New York Daily News and a variety of other publications. Tom shares his passion for writing by serving as an English tutor for students K-12 and fills an advisory role at a college newspaper.