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Online Gambling Developments in Washington and Iowa

By: Joe Valentino, Thursday October 6th 2011
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There is considerable activity at the state level in the United States in establishing intra state online gambling regulatory mechanisms. Massachusetts is currently discussing its bill in the state Senate. The New Jersey legislators are making a second attempt after the governor vetoed a bill passed by the House and Senate earlier this year. The latest news comes from Washington D.C. and Iowa.

As per the guidelines of the Washington D.C. Council, D.C. Lottery was to hold public consultation meetings in each of the city's eight wards to enable the public voice their concerns and opinions on online gambling. These consultations were put on hold because of the summer holiday. Now D.C. Lottery has announced fresh dates for the consultations. These will be held from October 13 to November 17, 2011. Making the announcement, Buddy Roogow Executive Director of D.C. Lottery said that he looked forward to the community meetings and gathering inputs from the residents. He added, "Our goal is to educate residents, constituents, and stake holders alike on what Internet gaming is, what it isn't, and highlight the potential benefits this new gaming platform may have in the District of Columbia." The next hearing on the online gambling law will probably be called in early December by D.C. Council member Jack Evans, once the required public consultations have been completed and their outcome known. That hearing will determine whether Washington D.C. will implement the online gambling law or will repeal it.

In Iowa, the state Legislature had delayed debate on online gambling legalization to 2012. However, there is considerable activity taking place outside the Legislature. A new study conducted by the University of Northern Iowa has shown that a significant numbers of Iowans are currently gambling online at illegal offshore sites, and will continue to do so if the legalization of online gambling does not take place next year. The research was unable to determine the extent of potential social and public health impacts attributable to online gambling. The study, which was presented to state health officials late last week, was commissioned by Iowa lawmakers so that they had some basis for discussing the legalization of intra state online gambling during the legislative session that convenes in January 2012.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is working on a separate study for establishing a regulatory framework for intra state online poker. The results are to be submitted by December 1, 2011. Jack Ketterer, administrator of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, said that the report would present facts and not make a recommendation to state lawmakers. He added, "I see our role as trying to bring the legislature up to speed on potential regulatory questions and concerns, which are changing on almost a daily basis because of rapid development of Internet policy issues."

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