Legislators within the state of Iowa have shown early support for a new bill which would legalize online poker within their borders. A three member panel made up of state senators recently approved the bill, clearing the first hurdle in what could be a speedy process.
The bill (known formally as Senate Study Bill 3164) will now make its way to the Iowa senate’s government committee. There it will be debated before the full compliment of the state’s lawmakers. According to PokerNews, the wording of the proposed law would legalize intra-state poker by allowing “licensees authorized to conduct gambling games on an excursion boat, gambling structure, or racetrack enclosure to operate internet wagering on poker and making penalties applicable.”
For now, it appears as though online poker will be the only form of gaming dealt with by the bill. Sharon Haselhoff, the General Manager for the Grand Falls Casino and Resort, provided the following explanation of the process:
“So, what the bill does,” she said, “is, through the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, it allows folks to go into a casino, register to make sure they’re not on the statewide ban list, make sure they’re 21-years of age, to set up their account, then be able to go home, within the State of Iowa, and play internet poker against folks throughout the State of Iowa.”
In the end, this will come down to money. Several Iowa politicians have already expressed concerns that their citizens are already participating in illegal online gambling. If this is so, they say, why not step in and grab a piece of the pie? Should such a procedure be implemented, the state government could see a huge jump in tax revenues. A study put forth by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission recently estimated possible gains of $13 million, which is truly a difference-making sum.