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An organization of tribes and card rooms formed two years ago to lobby for legal Internet poker in California has disbanded after spending more than a million dollars on the unsuccessful effort.

The California Online Poker Association announced today that it dissolved, a day after rumors began flying that it was disintegrating because of infighting among members.

"The decision was based upon insufficient progress within the Legislature toward the passage of an online poker bill," Ryan Hightower, the group's spokesman, said in a statement.

A handful of bills over the last three years have proposed regulating and taxing online gambling within California. But they collapsed after the state's gambling interests fought over who would profit from the new business.

The California Online Poker Association consisted of two large tribes with casinos - Morongo and San Manuel - as well as several smaller tribes and cardrooms. Hightower's statement said the parties envisioned the group might dissolve if California lawmakers did not approve an online poker bill by January 2013.

The group was one of the state's biggest spenders on lobbying during the first half of 2012, outspending many lobbying powerhouses including Chevron and the California Teachers Association. COPA spent more than $1.2 million on lobbying in first six months of 2012, making it the tenth biggest spender during that period.

The group also spent nearly $147,000 on lobbying in the last quarter of 2011 - even though it reported lobbying no bills during that time.


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