Cookies on the PokerWorks Website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the PokerWorks website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time.

Continue using cookies

Poker News | World Poker News

States Continue Looking to Online Gambling for Revenue

Share this
The District of Columbia is just one of the dozens of entities eyeing online gaming as a way to get out of their debt hole. Starved for cash, D.C. joins the ranks of other states across the U.S.A. that are looking for ways to increase revenue and decrease their huge debt load - and legalized gambling is looking like a way out.

The district wants the millions in revenue that gambling generates each year - which is now going to Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia as D.C residents travel to gamble in the legal casinos in those states. In a bid to literally keep residents at home gambling, the district hopes to introduce an Internet gambling hub that would allow Washington residents to play blackjack, poker and other casino-style games from the comfort of their own homes or anywhere they have computer access. “They can do it from Starbucks, a restaurant, bar or hotel, or from a private residence,” said Buddy Roogow, executive director of the D.C. Lottery, who expects the new games to eventually raise $9 million a year. “That’s real money in D.C.”

Although the District of Columbia is the first to legalize it, online gaming is being seriously considered by many states mired in debt including California, North Carolina and Massachusetts.

Massachusetts has a gaming bill pending and in California, Senator Lou Correa is pushing for the passage of his online poker-only bill SB40. Hoping the bill will be passed this year, Correa would like to see Californians at the legal online tables in 2012. If online gaming is legalized in CA, estimates are that state coffers could be swelled by roughly $1.4 billion to $2 billion over 10 years.

The states however may find themselves butting heads with the Department of Justice which orchestrated a huge internet poker crackdown last April against Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, UB and Absolute Poker. To help quell critics who say legalized online gambling will promote addictive gambling, underage wagering and lead to debt for those who play; states say they will put safeguards in place to help prevent such problems.

Battling the DoJ is a risk states are evidently willing to take because they desperately need the money that would be generated from online legalized gambling. Online revenues are needed to supplement the taxes the states already collect from their land based casinos, B&M poker rooms and horse race tracks.

Legal experts say the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) passed in 2006 sent a mixed message to the states and seems to include an explicit exception for states to run online gambling operations within their borders. According to Arthur Terzakis, staff director of the Committee on Governmental Organization, a legislative policy committee in the California State Senate, the UIGEA “gives states the right to do this.”

Professor I. Nelson Rose specializes in gambling and the law at Whittier Law School and says; “States had looked at this haphazardly and not very energetically until the Great Recession hit, but now they’re desperate for money.” When it comes to taxing gambling, he said, “the thing they have left is the Internet.”

In response to the news of more states wanting to legalize online gaming, two United States senators sent a letter to the Justice Department asking them to quash efforts by the states to legalize online gaming.  Senators Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, and Jon Kyl, a Republican from Arizona sent a letter that included the following:

“In many cases, Internet gambling advocates in those states cite the silence of the Department of Justice in the face of these efforts as acquiescence,” the letter says. “We respectfully request that you reiterate the Department’s longstanding position that federal law prohibits gambling over the Internet, including intrastate gambling (e.g. lotteries).”

Several states already provide online wagering for their state lotteries and many see online gaming as nothing more than an extension of that service.

But not all states are making their bid for online gaming to improve their bottom line. The state of Iowa actually has a budget surplus and lawmakers there say they want to legalize online poker to create a regulated forum for a popular activity. “A number of Iowans are doing it and may not even realize its illegal,” said Jeff Danielson, a Democrat and the president pro tempore of the State Senate. “We want a regulated environment that’s safe and protects consumers.”

Please 'like' PokerWorks on Facebook, we'd love it if you follow us on Twitter!

News Flash

The IRS Scores Big at 2015 WSOP ME Final Table

The IRS managed to snag 34.13 percent from the payouts of the 2015 November Nine, totaling $8,467,091.

Read more

Quick Room Review

Bonus Room review

Subscribe to the Nightly Turbo

Be the first to know all the latest poker news, tournament results, gossip and learn all about the best online poker deals straight from your inbox.

RSS Feed