California Santa Ysabel Tribe Says No Online Poker Yet, But Soon

Posted on November 5th, 2014 by Daniel Ryder
Desert Rose Bingo Santa Ysabel

The Santa Ysabel tribe will now offer real money online bingo to California residents. (Image:

It’s not quite what California gamblers might have anticipated, but the Santa Ysabel tribe has a real money gambling site up and running at last.

The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel has announced the launch of a real money online bingo site, one that is available to California residents and that the tribe believes complies with all state gaming regulations. The site, known as Desert Rose Bingo, uses a proxy play system developed by Great Luck LLC in order to ensure that all play technically takes place on tribal lands.

In a statement, Santa Ysabel officials explained how they believed Great Luck’s VPN Aided Play System (VPNAPS) will allow them to answer any legal questions that may come about over whether the tribe has the authority to offer real money online gambling.

Gaming by Proxy on Tribal Lands

“This new licensing venture has created the nation’s first web browser-based i-Gaming platform,” the tribe said in a statement. “The Great Luck/Santa Ysabel agreement allows registered users to engage in a ‘proxy’ to play Class II bingo games under the sovereign jurisdiction of federally recognized Iipay Nation. After the completion of a comprehensive registration and approval process, real time live bingo game action is played by a ‘proxy’ of the web-browser enabled device user who has accessed the tribe’s Class II bingo gaming system.

“At no time is live bingo game action performed by the user. This ensures that all game play takes place on Tribal lands, under the jurisdiction of the Tribal government and is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.”

Poker Site Still to Come

This is just the latest move by the Santa Ysabel tribe, which first announced its intentions to offer real money online poker to California players in July. The tribe launched a site known as, which offered play money and freeroll poker games to players, with the promise of real money play to come not long after a short trial period.

But that real money poker launch date has been pushed back several times, and at least for the moment, only online bingo will be offered for actual stakes by the Iipay Nation. In comments to pokerfuse, officials from the tribe said that they still expect real money poker to be launched at within the next two weeks, barring any further setbacks.

“Some believe our promise to bring regulated cash poker games to California has all been a great big bluff, for any number of self-serving reasons,” said Chris Wrieden, Director Marketing for Santa Ysabel Interactive. “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 critic’s bluff theory to rest and when we accept our first online bet, we will be on our way to creating change for our industry.”

Until that online poker site does start taking cash bets, however, Desert Rose Bingo will serve as the tribe’s only foray into the real money online gambling market. Right now, players can play using bingo cards that cost anywhere from a penny to $1 to purchase. Players must be 18 or older, have a California residence, and be located in California at the time they play.

While this offering may be a modest first step for Indian online gaming outside of the regulatory frameworks provided by state governments, Great Luck CEO Joe Valandra believes there’s more to come.

“We look forward to announcing more licensing agreements with more Sovereign Nations in the very near future,” Valandra said.

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