California Online Poker Group COPA Disbands

California Online Poker Group COPA DisbandsTwo years ago the California Online Poker Association (COPA) was formed with the intention of directing the push towards full state legislation. However, on Thursday the group officially disbanded its operation and shut down its calonlinepoker.org website.
Explaining the rationale behind its move, COPA spokesman Ryan Hightower announced to the press: “The decision was based upon insufficient progress within the legislature toward the passage of an online poker bill.”
California is the most populous state in the US with 37.7 million residents and would be viewed as a jewel in the crown for the online poker industry. In addition, the state has been contemplating legislation in order to help alleviate its massive $16 billion budget deficit. Nevertheless, repeated attempts to pass Internet poker legislation in the Sunshine State have failed not least due to protestation from brick-and-mortar casinos, as well as disagreement within the gambling industry as to who should be awarded the licences.
The California Online Poker Association was originally formed from a coalition between numerous card clubs and Indian casinos. However, recent proposed bill SB 1463 seemed to favour granting exclusive rights to Indian tribes, which met with resistance from such businesses as the Commerce Casino and the Bicycle Casino, as well as horse racing facilities such as Hollywood Park.
Sen. Roderick Wright had previously described COPA as a “grand experiment” in which former enemies were trying to work together despite having different interests. Its former members, however, have not lost hope of having their goal realized at some stage in the future, with COPA’s spokesperson Ryan Hightower, stating:
“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.”
In the meantime, COPA free play site, CalShark.com, still appears to be up and running.

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