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Playtech Gambles on Poker Legislation

Playtech is poised to take advantage of current attempts to legalize online poker after signing deals to provide online software to online poker players in California.

The AIM-traded online gambling software provider reached an agreement with the California Online Poker Association, which is composed of Indian trial governments and card rooms who are licensed to provide land-based poker games.

In a separate agreement, SciPlay International, a joint venture with Scientific Games Corporation, will provide the California Online Poker ASsociation with internet poker games.

These agreements were made despite the fact that online poker is illegal in the US. However, the COPA has estimated that about two million people patronize unlicensed online poker sites in California alone.

California is currently considering legislation to legalize online poker, so for now Playtech and SciPlay will provide “play for fun” poker games to COPA members. Playtech will take a share of the revenue made by the COPA.

COPA is lobbying for the two California state bills in support of intrastate online poker, and Playtech shares have risen more than 6% since mid-morning today.

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Will Horowitz