The casino industry's main lobbying group has quietly ended its efforts to legalize online gambling as its members stake starkly different positions on the matter.

(Graeme Roberstorn, Getty Images)

American Gaming Association officials said Thursday that the group isn't focusing on the issue. President Geoff Freeman says AGA should work on areas that unite the industry.

It's a dramatic shift for the group that had made legalizing Internet gambling its most high-profile priority. Freeman told Congress in December that online gambling should be legal and regulated, saying a ban on the practice would strengthen the black market.

Online gambling has divided casino moguls. Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson supports a federal ban, while MGM Resorts and Caesars back a pro-Internet gambling coalition.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.