Iowa is the latest US state rumored to be seriously considering opening up the market for Internet gambling within their borders.
If those campaigning in New Jersey are unsuccessful in persuading the state that Internet gambling is the way forward, Iowa look like they could be waiting in the wings after a bill was unveiled yesterday that focused on intrastate poker.
According to the Des Moines Register, the bill would allow state casinos to offer residents over the age of 21 online poker from the comfort of their own homes. It would work by registering at a casino, by mail, telephone, or electronically, putting money into a special account and then logging on to a password-protected site to play poker.
“What is driving this is the recognition that you have an existing activity that’s already taking place in an unregulated environment, and the revenue is all flowing overseas,” said Kirk Uhler, vice president of government affairs for U.S. Digital Gaming, who are looking to be an operator of online poker if approved.
This is true in Iowa, an estimated 150,000 residents playing online illegally, which is depriving the state of $30-35million in taxes each year. The Iowa Racing and Gambling Commission, who would allow vendors to run websites, would regulate the Iowan network.
Republican Gov. Terry Branstad hasn’t had his say on the regulations yet, such is the early stage they’re at. Although with Vegas seeing a spike in mobile gaming and a number of states looking at Internet gambling to repair their economies, before the years out we could see as many as four states having intrastate gambling in place.