This week, quiet a few big igaming stories hit the global newswires. The biggest, no doubt, is the rapid coupling up of Vegas companies and Internet poker sites — which began with 888 and Caesars (then Harrah’s) back in late ’09 but has accelerated with this week’s latest announcement from Full Tilt Poker. The result of these partnerships is almost certainly going to affect the direction of proposed online gambling regulations in the U.S.

Here’s what else is happening in the U.S. online gaming regulatory world:

D.C. takes the stage
Joining the growing list of states seeking to enact its own online gambling laws is the District of Columbia. The Wall Street Journal reports that the D.C. “city council approved a budget last year allowing the district’s lottery to operate a poker website accessible only inside district boundaries.

“Opening the district to online gambling could make the nation’s capital the first test case for ‘intrastate’ online poker,” the Wall Street Journal article adds.

No go in Iowa
As we suspected a few weeks ago, the official word came down from Iowa this week: That state’s proposed online gambling bill is very unlikely to pass. Some sites have written the bill’s obituary, but prematurely, perhaps: It doesn’t quite seem to be quite dead yet.

“The bill is still alive — it passed a Senate subcommittee March 14 — but Rep. Dave Jacoby, D-Coralville, said he believes the legislation is ‘on life support,’” reports The Daily Iowan.

It may not pass, but it has whipped up a storm of media interest on the topic of taxing Internet poker, as you can see hereAnd here and here and here.

California update
“Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, has added amendments to his online poker bill, SB 40, that would increase the number of sanctioned website hubs from three to five,” notes the Capitol Weekly‘s Malcolm Maclachlan.

“But there’s a catch – three of these sites would get a head start on the other two.” Nonetheless, the change could make California a lot more appealing to out-of-country online gaming brands.

ESPN covers Nevada
But will it matter? Nevada’s clearly the best-positioned state to get there first, anyway.

And Nevada’s ambition to become the first state in the U.S. to regulate online gambling goes far beyond its own borders, argues.

Supporting his point, Gary Wise quotes Chris Krafcik, “editor-at-large”: “The play for Nevada on Internet poker is to be kind of a hub of Internet gambling in the U.S.,” Krafcik said.

“If you’re a business, Nevada wants you to come there to get licensed because that’s how they’ll make money — off business taxes and jobs created by the infrastructure that will be built in Nevada. It’s a long-term play. Nevada would become a highly technical center for Internet gambling in the U.S.”

Reid has the power
Speaking of Nevada, the online poker experts at Bluff Magazine have listed U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid among poker’s “Poker 20”.

“The Nevada Democrat spent most of December attempting get an online poker bill passed during the congressional lame duck session that would have called for federal regulation of the activity,” explains Howard Stutz at the Las Vegas Review-Journal (for those who didn’t follow the story here at CAP, of course).

“His first attempt to get the regulation passed fell flat, but Nevada’s land-based operators, who backed his re-election efforts in November, are looking to the Democratic senator to continue to push the matter during his current term,” the magazine’s editors wrote.

That’s not all
Meanwhile, Florida, Hawaii, and yes, even New Jersey continue to speculate on online gambling legalization and regulation. Will any of them get there before federal lawmakers do? Probably … and it’s becoming pretty clear just which one it’ll be.

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