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California Poker Face-Off

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California tribes are at odds over legalizing Internet poker in the state, reports The Press-Enterprise.

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians near Banning and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians near San Bernardino are leading the California Online Poker Association, a new group of tribes and card clubs, in the fight for sponsorship of the bill introduced Monday, the first day of the 2011-12 session.

The measure would allow a "licensed entity" that currently runs a casino or card club in California to offer an "intrastate Internet poker website," paying the state an unspecified share of revenue.

Currently, an estimated 2 million Californians play online poker with websites based outside the U.S. and bet more than $300 million annually. Since federal law prohibits online gaming, some sovereign Indian nations are pushing for the right to operate online gaming sites while keeping gambling revenue in-state and protecting online players from the risks of using offshore gambling sites.