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COPA lobby group shuts

Online poker organisation has disbanded following ‘insufficient progress’ over the previous two years.

Tuesday 30th October 2012

The California Online Poker Association (COPA) lobby group has announced that it has dissolved after spending more than one million dollars over the past two years to get online gambling legalised in the western state. A limited liability company consisting of 29 tribes including the Morongo and San Manuel bands alongside 31 card rooms, COPA was one of the state's biggest spenders on lobbying during the first half of 2012 at $1.2 million and laid out nearly $147,000 during the last quarter of last year. “The decision was based upon insufficient progress within the legislature toward the passage of an online poker bill,” said Ryan Hightower, spokesperson for COPA. The organisation lobbied for various pieces of legislation that would have given its members a piece of the online poker pie. However, some tribes did not favour its advocated legislation due to concerns over inclusiveness. “The politics over Internet poker over the last two years simply has not caught up with modern technology's inroads into California gaming economics and it was unclear how soon in the future that would change,” said Carla Rodriguez, Chairwoman for the San Manual band. “We decided it was time to step back for awhile and assess the situation.” Federal law currently prohibits online gambling but allows individual states to potentially legalise the activity. In California, unsuccessful legislation first proposed in 2010 would have permitted card rooms and tribes to buy five-year iGaming licenses at a cost of $30 million each. “We continue to believe that the Internet is the future of gaming,” said Robert Martin, Chairman for the Morongo band. “We will refocus our efforts and are evaluating our options for going forward.”

Source: OnlineCasinoNews

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