Iowa Lawmakers Consider Legalizing In-State Internet Poker

A group of Iowa lawmakers are proposing to legalize in-state Internet poker, a move that would make Iowa the first state in the nation to do so.

Proponents argue that some 50,000 Iowans already play illegally and that state-regulated gambling would be safer for residents and bring approximately $11.5 million in extra revenue a year.

“We would take something that Iowans are currently being abused on by out-of-country, unregulated entities and allow the state to put constraints on it," said Rep. Doug Struyk, who is part of a legislative group working on the issue.

To participate in “account deposit wagering,” (lawmakers don’t like to use the term online gambling), Iowans would have to go to a state casino, deposit $50-$500 (cash or debit cards only), and then play from an Iowa Internet address. Winners would have to return to the casino to pick up their winnings. These measures would be necessary to avoid violating Federal regulations that prohibit most forms of inter-state gambling.

The proposal, of course, is not without its share of critics.

"As former teacher and arts administrator, I'd like to say emphatically that gambling is a scavenger industry that is greed driven," said Des Moines resident Nan Stillians. "It makes education more difficult any kinds of studies that demonstrate the small amount of addiction or the good that gambling does is just balderdash."

Struyk estimates the measure only has a 1 in 4 chance of passing, so the discussion is likely moot. However, several other states are considering similar proposals so the dream of legal online gambling is not completely dead.

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Categories: Gambling

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