Online Poker in Iowa? Not in 2014, Says Gaming Group President

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Iowa lawmakers will not take up the issue of online poker in 2014.

Instead, the state’s gambling industry is committed to monitoring states where online gambling in already live with an eye toward working up a bill for 2015.

That’s per Wes Ehrecke, President and CEO of the Iowa Gaming Association, in an article for Casino Enterprise Management.

Ehrecke told CEM that there will be “no discussion in the 2014 legislative session” regarding online poker.

Citing the short legislative session , Ehrecke sketched an alternative plan for Iowa’s gaming stakeholders:

Rather, the industry will closely watch the introduction of i-gaming in New Jersey and Delaware, plus Internet poker in Nevada. This will be an opportunity to learn what is working or not, including their regulations, compacts with other states, etc., and decide on suggested language for a bill to consider in 2015.

Read the whole article here.

The New Jersey paradox

The position outlined by Ehrecke illustrates how regulation in New Jersey is at once moving other states closer to and further away from considering online gambling.

In the long-term, several states will undoubtedly adopt regulated online gambling more rapidly due to the precedent set by New Jersey.

But in the near-term, some states – like Iowa – that might have moved forward in 2014 could decide to wait until a clearer picture regarding things like revenue, unanticipated consequences and blowback emerges from New Jersey’s foray into regulated iGaming.

Iowa’s history with online poker regulation

There have been numerous attempts to bring regulated online poker to Iowa.

A 2012 measure approved by the State Senate met its demise in the House.

Most recently, a bill put forward by State Sen. Jeff Danielson (D-Cedar Rapids) perished in committee in March of 2013.

Disputes over the amount of revenue online poker would produce and tepid support from voters have been two of the factors draining support for regulated Iowa online poker.

States to watch for legislative movement in 2014

While Iowa is apparently on the sidelines, those tracking the development of regulated online poker in the U.S. definitely have other states to watch.

California and Pennsylvania both appear likely to consider substantial online gambling proposals in 2014.

And Illinois, Florida and New York are all possible candidates for legislative progress on regulated online poker and gambling.

- Chris is the publisher of Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.
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