As the online gambling industry waits for Governor Chris Christie to sign New Jersey’s new online gambling bill into law, other states are beginning to take the question of regulating and taxing online gaming more seriously.
There’s California, where a new online poker bill has just been introduced; there’s also Iowa, where some leading lawmakers have discussed the idea. But some new entries on the list of states looking at this issue have also emerged.
In Mississippi, the Sun-Herald reports that the 18th annual Southern Gaming Summit and 15th annual BingoWorld Conference and Expo, coming up in May, will include Internet gambling on its agenda.
Lawmakers in Minnesota are also looking at expanding revenue from legal gambling (and more specifically, horse racing) operations. So far the new “racino” proposal doesn’t include specifically Internet wagering, but it does describe a “new political landscape” that looks like a good first step to getting there.
“You can bet that gambling-expansion bills will appear at the Legislature within a couple of weeks,” writes Neal St. Anthony at the Star-Tribune.
In Florida, lawmakers are trying to build more casinos to keep residents from spending their money playing elsewhere. “State Sen. Dennis Jones, R-Seminole, chairman of the committee that oversees gambling, notes that … 3.5 million people left this state to gamble elsewhere,” according to the Panama City News Herald. “He is drafting a bill that would allow four or five casino resorts in Florida.”
The Poker Players Association executive director, Melanie Brenner, spoke at a Florida Senate Committee hearing addressing these issues. She told them that “an estimated 900,000 Floridians play online poker and spend about $600,000 a day on illegal Internet poker sites,” per Mary Ellen Klas of the Miami Herald. “If Florida were to legalize online games within the state, it could reap millions in additional revenue, she said.”