According to a spokesman for the California Online Poker Association, Ryan Hightower, the decision to dissolve the body, which shocked the industry on Oct. 25, was made due to insufficient progress of an online poker bill in the California legislature.
In his statement, Hightower said: “When the California Online Poker Association (COPA) was formed two years ago, the COPA operating agreement contemplated that the organization might be dissolved if state online poker legislation had not passed by January 2, 2013.
“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.”
Still it seems that COPA, which comprised 29 tribes and 31 card room, was shaken by more than just the lack of legislative progress – it is widely speculated that tribal in-fighting was also responsible for the break, especially among the two main tribal groups, the Morongo and the San Manuel bands, which left the body.
It was stated by San Manuel tribe leader Carla Rodrigues that they have not given up on the idea of legalization, but rather that “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. We decided it was time to step back for a while and assess the situation.”
On the other hand, Morongo chairman Robert Martin stated: “We continue to believe that the Internet is the future of gaming. We will refocus our efforts and are evaluating our options going forward.”
In the meantime, reports arrived that COPA’s play-for-fun online poker website, Calshark, is still operating, at least for the time being.