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A coalition of California Indian tribes is asking the Legislature not to rush an Internet gambling bill through in the final weeks of session.

"Last minute, back-room brokered deals on an issue that is vital to our tribal governments is the type of action that we must, and will, oppose until the final minute of this legislative session," the California Tribal Business Alliance wrote in a letter sent to lawmakers today.

The group supports legalizing Internet gambling but opposes the most recent bill on the issue -- Sen. Rod Wright's Senate Bill 1463, which hasn't made it out of its policy committee.

The Legislature has been batting around online poker proposals for three years. Gambling tribes -- who are big political donors -- are divided on the details, but they all want to profit from a new form of legal gambling. Tribal leaders from around the state are meeting today at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento to discuss the issue.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said Monday that division among tribes is the main logjam in moving forward with an Internet poker bill. He said it was unlikely -- but still possible -- that a bill would come together this month.


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