In Iowa, they are trying to legalize poker. They are one step closer to this dream. On Tuesday the Senate File 2275 which is an “act to authorize licenses to allow operation of internet wagering on poker” was passed in the state. It won with a vote of 29 to 20.
This new bill was introduced to the senate for Iowa by the State Senator Jeff Danielson in the end of February; close to a year after a similar bill he was trying to pass fizzled out and was never passed. Danielson thinks that this would be the best way to go for everyone. Not everyone is irresponsible when it comes to gambling, so why penalize the rest of us who are responsible with it? This bill can help those of us that can responsibly gamble online. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission ran a study, and found that the estimated intrastate online poker earnings would bring in around $3 to $13 million each year in tax revenue. In December the U.S. Department of Justice changed their stance on the online poker bill saying that the Wire Act of 1961 was the bill that made online sports betting illegal, and not the poker and slot machine games online. Danielson now thinks that since they have the U.S. Department of Justice on their side that this can become a multi-state compact to raise money for each state just by the annual tax revenue.
The bill also goes on to allow not only online poker within the states borders, but also interstate online poker. Section 10 states that “an internet wager may be placed from any location within the state of Iowa or from any other location where it is authorized by law, subject to requirements adopted by the commission.” In order for a player to acquire an online poker license, those potential operators have to partner with the state licensed brick and mortar casinos. This means that those stand-alone internet poker sites are not allowed. The minimum gambling age is also 21, which might be changed with a multi-state compact is in force. These operators of online poker can only serve their games to those within the Iowa state borders.
Tourists to the state are allowed to play poker online, but they have to establish an account at one of the brick and mortar casinos ahead of time. 21 of the votes to pass this bill were from Democrats, while the other 8 were from Republicans. 15 of the 20 no’s that were given were from Republicans. The House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) told us that the bill in question “faces dim prospects for passage.” Rep. Jeff Kaufmann (R-Wilton) had more to say on the subject – “From my perspective, I think at this point in the year with the Senate burying a property tax bill and the Senate not moving on so many of our job-creation bills, I don’t see why in the world they would be spending time on online gaming when we have jobs that we need to create in this state,” he told the Times Newspaper. “I think it’s a waste of our time.”.