California coalition for legalizing Internet poker dissolves


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After two years of failed efforts to get the state of California to legalize Internet poker, a coalition of 46 card clubs and Indian casinos is disbanding in frustration.

Legalization bills were introduced this year and last but failed to make it out of committee, in part because of disagreement within the gambling industry over who should be given the state-sanctioned games or whether they would hurt brick-and-mortar casinos.


On Thursday, the California Online Poker Assn. said its governing board has voted to dissolve the organization. ‘The decision was based upon insufficient progress within the legislature toward the passage of an online poker bill,’ said Ryan Hightower, COPA’s spokesperson.

Hightower said the group originally expected to operate for two years.

‘COPA’s members continue to believe that the authorization of intrastate Internet poker would provide California with hundreds of millions in new state revenue, thousands of new jobs and vital protections for players,’’ Hightower said.

Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood), who introduced past poker bills, said the issue is not going away, even if COPA is folding. He called the group a ``grand experiment. You had former enemies trying to work together. People didn’t have the same interests.’’


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