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Poker Legislation Updates 2013

The movement to legalize online poker has been picking up steam over the past few years and 2013 may well be the tipping point.

With legislatures in most US states currently in session, here’s a look at the status of the various online gambling bills they’re considering.

California SB1463

California has the potential to be one of the biggest legal online gambling markets in the country, if the major players involved can get along. California poker legislation has been dragging on since last year when SB1463 was first introduced but there’s been little progress.

Early versions of the Bill would have granted existing tribal casinos exclusive rights to operate online poker. That didn’t sit too well with California card room operators, race track owners and smaller Indian tribes. Amidst serious infighting, efforts to legalize were shelved until this year.

The current version of SB1463 limits online gambling to poker, but leaves room for expansion in the future. It’s currently still in committee and is much friendlier towards non-native operators and smaller bands. No word yet on when, or if it’s going to see a vote this year.


A draft online poker bill has been circulating in the Colorado capitol for almost a year, but that’s as far as it’s gone.


State Senate President John Cullerton made waves last year when he suggested that Illinois should legalize online poker, but his idea wasn’t well received. There was talk last year that a bill would be introduced in this year’s legislative session, but so far nothing has happened.

Iowa SSB 1068

Iowa’s last online poker bill died in committee, but this year’s version is a little different. SSB 1068 is what’s known as a State Study Bill, which basically authorizes research on the matter at hand.

If it’s found to be acceptable, the SSB could be turned into a House or Senate bill and, eventually, become law.

While SSB 1068 is a step in the right direction, Iowa is a long ways from online gambling.

Mississippi HB254

Mississippi’s efforts at legalizing online poker by issuing online operator licenses died in committee. This was the second time the bill had been unsuccessfully


Online poker is a done deal in the Silver State, but there are a few details that are still in the hands of lawmakers.

Nevada may be the gambling capital of the United States, but their relatively small population probably won’t be able to support online poker on its own. With that in mind, Governor Brian Sandoval has asked for, and will likely receive, legislation allowing interstate poker.

The biggest challenge to Nevada’s online gaming industry is currently coming from House Majority Leader William Horne who thinks online poker licenses are too good a value.

In a recent interview he said, “We have this Lexus product and we’re putting this Saturn price tag on it.” Horne’s proposing that the state double its licensing fee from $500,000 to $1 million, with a $500,000 renewal.

He also wants to bar any operator who served US customers from receiving a Nevada license. Neither proposal is very popular with lawmakers or Governor Sandoval and aren’t expected to go anywhere.

New Jersey

Governor Chris Christie is a big supporter of online gambling. He recently vetoed the current version of the online gambling bill, but only until he sees a few minor changes.

Christie’s made no secret about his desire to make the Garden State the, Silicon Valley of Internet Gambling, so watch your back, Nevada.


Expect lots of other states to flirt with online poker/gambling bills in 2013; and expect a lot more of them to get serious once Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware go live with their online poker offerings.

Do you think that 2013 will bring a wave of legalized online gambling to the United States? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.