States Like Ohio, Iowa Look To Legalize Online Gambling
February 9, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – Blame it on the economic downturn: More and more American states are investigating the possibility of legalizing, regulating, and of course taxing online gambling to add much-needed revenue to their struggling economies.
Florida lawmakers have recently heard an argument for legalizing online poker. “Lobbyists representing the British operator Betfair and the U.S. Poker Players Alliance were among those who attended last Tuesday’s Senate Committee on Regulated Industries hearing on the poker study that was published by the Florida state legislature’s Office … ” writes James Kilsby for GamblingCompliance Ltd.
Kilsby goes on to write that, although the hearing was low-key, “a leading candidate for attorney general appeared to concede that regulation was, at some stage, inevitable.” Given the attorney general’s role as law enforcer, that can be taken to be a good sign. Read Kilsby’s article here.
Meanwhile, Iowa is also making a push to legalize land-based sports betting, which could soon lead to online laws changing in that state as well. New Jersey and Delaware are fighting their own battles to get sports betting fully legalized within their borders despite resistance from the federal government. Maine and Hawaii are considering allowing poker playing at casinos. All of these actions are based on land-based playing but represent individual states attempting to create their own gambling laws, which could easily translate to changes in their Internet gambling laws, as well. Read about Iowa’s situation here; read about Delaware here, New Jersey here, and Maine and Hawaii here.
Unfortunately, all this activity comes as California, the state in the forefront of the drive to legalize online gambling within its borders, suffers a significant setback in its efforts.
“Nine tribes in California today asserted their opposition to proposed intrastate Internet poker,” writes Debra Gruszecki at the Desert Sun. “The tribes sent a letter to members of the Senate Governmental Organization committee” to state their opposition to the concept of legalized online gambling, a day before California’s informational hearing on the proposed legal online poker initiative. Read the Desert Sun article here.
The group opposing legal poker in California seems well organized and has even hired a former top aide to Governor Schwarzenegger to help make its case. Read about that here.
On a national level, one of Washington State’s senators, Jim McDermott, who has also been involved in the drive to legalize online gambling throughout the entire country, recently spoke about the wastefulness of not taxing all the online gambling happening during the Super Bowl season. “Unfortunately, while millions of Americans bet on the game, unless they are doing it from a casino in Las Vegas, they are engaged in an activity that Congress has decided is criminal,” McDermott wrote last week, according to Covers.com’s NFL coverage.
“In fact, it’s projected that 99 percent of wagers on the Super Bowl will be placed illegally online or through a bookmaker, where consumers have no legal protections and are left vulnerable to exploitation.” Read the full article here.
More to the point, online gambling has increased the accessibility of wagering on the Super Bowl. McDermott noted that approximately half of the $80-100 billion Americans illegally wagered on the NFL last year was done so online.