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Iowa's Plan to Legalize Online Gambling

March 5, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – And the drive to legalize and regulate online gambling state-by-state continues full throttle as Iowa lawmakers have in the last week become increasingly vocal about legalizing Internet casinos in that small Midwestern state.

“Here’s an opportunity for $11.5 million a year for an activity that’s already going on in the state where Iowans have exposed themselves to significant risks,” said State Representative Doug Struyk, a Republican from Council Bluffs, according to Iowa’s KWQC-TV website.

Struyk is referring to the fact that about 50,000 Iowans currently already gamble on the Internet, but because of existing laws, are doing so illegally. So a group of lawmakers, like in some other states, have raised the idea of regulating and taxing online gambling to make it safer for the players, and of course bring in some much-needed money to the state’s treasury.

Struyk’s idea is to legalize online gambling but to restrict Iowans to gambling at online casinos located in Iowa. Players would “have to go to one of the 17 casinos in Iowa” and make a deposit of “between $50 and $500,” according to the article. The player could then access an online account connected to that casino to gamble or play poker. The way it would be set up, cities and the state government would likely get a chunk of the money spent.

“The player would only be able to access their account from an Iowa Internet address,” the article further explains. “If the player wins from behind the computer screen they would have to go to the casino to collect their money. The online gambling legislation is in the drafting stages right now. If it moves all the way to approval the system could go online as early as next year.”

So … good or bad news? Certainly, this initiative of more and more lawmakers wanting to legalize online gambling is exciting. But if every state does it the way that Iowa proposes, that would push out the big online casino brands and eliminate traditional online gambling affiliate marketing in the states that go their own way. (The same is likely in California’s online poker legalization push.)