Playtech To Bring Online Poker To California Playtech To Bring Online Poker To California

Scientific Games, in a joint venture with UK-based Playtech, today announced an agreement with COPA to provide internet poker to Californian residents.

According to the press release, a “full suite of internet poker services” will be provided to Californians. The poker room is scheduled to launch a play-money version in 2011, with the goal to provide real-money games if state legislation is passed.

Playtech is best known for their iPoker brand, a network of over 40 poker rooms including European brick and mortar bookmakers BetFred, Paddy Power and William Hill. In the joint venture with Scientific Games dubbed “Sciplay,” Playtech is set to provide their “acclaimed B2B internet gaming software” as part of the deal.

The move comes ahead of possible intrastate legislation in California to provide regulated real-money play online. The poker room will provide play-money games until such time:

“California is currently considering legislation to authorize and license intrastate internet poker offerings. In advance of this, these agreements with Sciplay and Playtech will enable COPA to offer internet poker in a 'play for fun’ mode, which provides players with the opportunity to improve their strategies and hone their skills for free.”

“Exclusively on the State”

COPA has formed a coalition for the passage of SB40, one of two bills introduced in California that seek to regulate online poker. California Senator Lou Correa introduced SB40 which requires California to opt out of online poker legislation on a federal level and requires online players in the state to play exclusively on the state-licensed sites which would not share its player pool with other states or countries.

In anticipation of federal legislation, Correa has amended his state bill as an “urgency bill,” which would allow it to avoid committee deadlines as it progresses thorough the legislative process. On his website, Correa states:

With federal action looming and the market wide open, we have to quickly authorize online poker in California. To delay will mean loss of more than $1.4 billion in new state revenue at a time when it is severely needed.

The race to pass legislation on the state level is an attempt by California to prevent a loss of revenue and jobs. Since the events Black Friday and the resulting pull out of the US market by PokerStars, Full tilt and Cereus, California has increased their estimated new revenue from online poker by 47 percent.