By Ian Hiaring, Rakeback.com Poker News Staff Writer
A recently introduced bill in the Iowa Legislature would potentially change the state’s gambling laws to allow state-regulated online poker. Like many other states as of late, Iowa’s budget is becoming increasingly unstable, and the bill would allow the state to add revenue by allowing online poker to be regulated and taxed by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.
The bill also includes language that would change how purse money is allocated from the Altoona racetrack, which features horse racing, but it’s the online gaming piece of the bill that would likely be the most scrutinized.
Similar to a bill currently on the Governor’s desk in New Jersey awaiting approval, it would allow casinos to offer online gambling through a vendor’s hub, and would only be available only to residents of Iowa. Players would register via a number of methods to play, and the vendor would be responsible for enforcing minimum age requirements and other security measures to ensure that players are from the state of Iowa.
While the regulation of online gaming at the federal level is moving at a snail’s pace, it seems that individual states such as Iowa and New Jersey are trying to grab their piece of the pie first. Taxing online gaming income would provide an immediate boost to the Iowa budget, which, like many other states, is coming under fire from its constituents for proposing cuts to education spending.
Gaming lobbyists are singing the same song to Iowa politicians that’s been heard in the other states considering regulating online gaming. They’re citing the fact that players are already playing on overseas-based sites, and funneling money away from the state that could be taxed and converted into revenue for Iowa.
Kirk Uhler from U.S. Digital Gaming, who is vying to become the operator of Iowa’s online poker network, says: "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."
Newly elected Republican Governor, Terry Branstad has yet to take a position on the proposal.
Check back often as the RakeBack.com Poker News Staff will keep you informed of this, and any other online gaming legislation news as it happens.
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