Florida and Hawaii Fail to Pass Online Poker Bill

13 April 2011

At least they are trying…maybe that’s is how we should look at all the attempts by state lawmakers to get online gambling legalized within their state borders. At least the attempt is being made and online gambling is being considered, but being considered is about as far as Florida and Hawaii got.

In Florida yesterday, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee killed a bill that would regulate online poker within the state when their vote ended in a 2-2 tie. The Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla sponsored bill would have allowed online poker games among Floridians operated through parimutuel card rooms.

Diaz de la Portilla said when he spoke to the committee, “What we’re trying to do here is create Florida intrastate poker network and do it with Florida companies with regulations here — protecting from identify theft and protecting the consumer — and having revenue go to the state.”

The bill was opposed by the Florida Sheriff’s Association and the Poker Players Alliance. The Sheriff’s Association went as far as calling in “internet crack” and the PPA is more interested in a federal bill regulating poker than one approved state by state.

Hawaii also killed a bill that would allow both online and live poker within its borders. The proposed legislation didn’t get a public hearing before last week’s deadline for bills to advance and thus killing the proposal until next year.

Last month the bill passed the Economic Revitalization & Business Committee and the Judiciary Committee but didn’t get a hearing in the House Finance Committee. According to Finance Committee Chairman Marcus Oshiro, D-Wahiawa, the bill didn’t have enough public interest to ever get serious consideration.

The Hawaii bill would have allowed Texas Hold ‘em and Omaha varieties of poker only and all other games would have remained banned. Hawaii and Utah are the only two states in the U.S. that do not allow any form of legalized gambling.

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