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State Governments Debate Online Gambling Bills

In State Houses across the United States, legislators are back in session and online gambling; sports betting; and lotteries are on the agenda in many of them.

Thanks to a lack of Federal online gambling regulations, state governments wield tremendous power over the American online gambling industry.

State lawmakers are also heavily influenced by what they might perceive as successful tax revenue sources in other states. That is to say, if one state takes a chance on regulating online poker and is successful, other states will almost certainly follow.

Here’s a quick look at a few of the online gambling bills currently under debate across the United States.

Mississippi Lawful Internet Gambling Act

Mississippi State Representative Bill Moak likes the idea of regulated online gambling in his state; but he doesn’t think much of people who gamble online illegally.

To help balance things out, Moak suggests legalizing igaming, while throwing those who gamble outside of regulated sites directly in jail.

Under the terms of the Mississippi Lawful Internet Gambling Act, illegal gamblers could be throw behind bars for as much as 90 days.

It’s a uniquely Mississippi approach to lawmaking but, for better or worse, it’s not going to happen. Moak’s Bill was killed in committee and won’t be reconsidered again until next year.


In Washington State, lawmakers recently shot down HB 1114, which would have made overturned laws making playing online poker a felony.

The old law, which was implemented in 2006, isn’t vigorously enforced but remains on the books nonetheless.

Throwing serious prison time at poker players seems pretty extreme in any state, but it’s especially odd coming from liberal Washington, which recently legalized the use and sale of recreational marijuana.


Will Minnesota be the next state to take on the Feds in the hopes of legalizing online gambling? That could be the case if a new Bill sponsored by State Rep. Phyllis Kahn passes into law.

Kahn, who seems like a pretty sensible person, knows what happened in New Jersey but is ready to fight the good fight anyways. She recently told reporters:

There already is plenty of betting on sports happening on the internet and we don’t get to take advantage of the benefits of this. It is hypocritical of us to allow certain forms of gaming, but not others.

Of course common sense has never been a big part of American online gambling law.