|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 06/20/2011 : 7:00:21 PM
Online gaming illegal, but California poker group presses forward
While online gambling is still illegal in California, the California Online Poker Association, a coalition backed by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, on Monday said it has selected a company to provide online poker services.
COPA, in addition to its selection of the publicly traded firm Sciplay, said it signed an software licensing pact with Playtech for online poker technology and software.
Terms of the agreement, forged even before a state law has been passed to legalize online gambling in California, were not immediately disclosed.
The announcement follows a wave of federal shutdowns on illegal Internet poker operations.
Robert Martin, chairman of the Morongo and a member of COPA’s board of managers, said the timing couldn’t be better because the federal indictments removed the largest offshore Internet poker operators from the California market.
That showed the urgency for regulated online poker in California, Martin said in a statement.
Sciplay is a joint venture between the publicly traded firms Scientific Games Corp. and Playtech Limited.
Scientific Games, a venture founded 40 years ago, has contracts to operate 11 lottery systems in the United States, along with systems in China, Germany, France, Spain, Norway and Switzerland. Trading under the ticker SGMS, it provides technical support to video lottery systems in Delaware, South Dakota, New Mexico, Maine, West Virginia and Australia.
Founded in 1999, Playtech designs and develops online gaming software and technology to more than 80 operators around the globe. Its clients include ipoker.com, William Hill, Sportech and Bet365 in the United Kingdom, as well as operators in Italy, France and Finland.
Martin revealed early in the year that COPA, the coalition of 29 tribes and 31 card rooms, had been working on the agreements for several months.
Now that the operating agreements are in place, Martin said COPA is getting in position to launch live Internet poker as soon as it is legalized in the state.
Two bills proposed most recently to state lawmakers, though, have been parked.