Playtech teams with California Online Poker Assn.

The COPA deal is an important milestone for Playtech's development, by positioning the company for additional US intrastate online gambling.

Playtech Cyprus Ltd's (AIM:PTEC) joint venture with Scientific Games Corporation (Nasdaq: SGMS), Sciplay International SARL, will provide the California Online Poker Association (COPA) with intrastate Internet poker services. Playtech also signed a separate software licensing agreement with COPA.

Playtech's share price jumped 6.7% in morning trading on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) today to ₤3.41, giving a market cap of ₤774 million.

COPA members comprise 29 federally recognized California tribal governments and 31 state-licensed California card clubs. Sciplay won a competitive selection process designed to identify the most capable service provider to serve the needs of the California poker players, estimated to be the largest number of poker players in any one state in the US.

Sciplay will provide a full house of Internet poker services, including network management, hosting, advisory services, customer support, internal marketing, and all associated hardware.

Playtech said that 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. This website is planned for launch in 2011.

The federal government banned online gambling several years ago. The chances that each US state will allow online gambling, within state jurisdiction is greater than the chances of new Congressional legislation to permit interstate online gambling anytime soon. California is one of the first states to consider allowing intrastate online gambling, and Playtech and Scientific Games will set up with the state government a website for this purpose.

This is why the COPA deal is an important milestone for Playtech's development, by positioning the company for additional intrastate online gambling, when other state governments license it.

Moreover, as Robert Martin, Chairman of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and a member of COPA's board of managers, said, "It has been estimated that Californians wager more than $13 billion annually on illegal, offshore internet poker websites. Our mission is to provide California players with a safe and secure option to play poker legally on the Internet. On behalf of all of COPA's trusted gaming partners, both tribes and card rooms alike, we are very pleased to enter these agreements with Sciplay and Playtech to deliver a full service solution."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on June 21, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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