Texas to consider new poker bill; Iowa Lottery lobbies against feds
Texas is considering a new poker bill that will expressly ban any wagering over the Internet. When the state’s legislature reconvenes on Jan. 8, 2013, it will discuss the Texas Gaming Act of 2013 that was original introduced last month by sponsor State Senator Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin). The bill will regulate the offering of land-based poker games and bans Internet poker. It also outlaws the electronic poker tables that would have been introduced under an earlier bill. Under the plans the Texas Lottery Commission will get a new poker division with existing pari-mutuel venues, bingo halls and tribes able to offer poker – tribes and pari-mutuels doing so round the clock with bingo halls only permitted to offer poker during normal opening hours. The taxation rate would be 18 percent of gross revenue with the proceeds being pocketed by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. Major tournaments are unlikely to pitch up in the state as the new bill has a proposed $100 max buy-in and it doesn’t sound like online poker players will be moving to the state that lends its name to the most popular form of the game.
Iowa Lottery wants the federal authorities to leave well alone when it comes to online gambling as they think power must stay with the states. CEO Terry Rich went to D.C. to lobby the issue with the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries. He brought a report back to the Iowa Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee in which he explained: “The lotteries emphasized that the federal government should not infringe on states’ rights to implement and to regulate Internet gaming within their own borders. Lottery staff also stressed that individual states are best equipped to respond to their citizens’ unique local preferences and decide what, if any, intrastate gaming should occur within their jurisdictions.”
The sentiments here are similar to those made by others railing against federal online gambling efforts and go to show that state’s are eager to do things on their terms – much like the way its been for years with land-based gambling. Iowa is one state that has been fairly active when it comes to online gambling bills with the latest poker bill dying a slow death in the House in March 2012. At least it goes to show the states know it was going to be state-by-state all along.