Iowa Online Gambling Bill Stalls

06 April 2011

It now looks like the Iowa online gambling bill has stalled out before it will even go to a vote. Much like the federal attempt to get a bill passed the Iowa legislation got through committee but will not make it to the floor for a vote.

Many legislators are in support of the bill saying it would give the state a chance to bring regulation to what is now an unregulated industry and also bring money currently going to foreign companies back into the state.

Iowa’s plan was that casinos would collect a percentage of the money wagered, called the rake, of each hand and then that money would be taxed. According to Senator Bill Dotzler (D), it will take more time than this session will allow to get something approved.

Senator Jeff Danielson (D) agreed saying that lawmakers could not come to an agreement and the bill will be amended to allow time for the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to do a report on the matter.

“I just think people need a clearer picture of the evidence and I don’t think they’re ready in this session to legalize it,” Danielson said. “So we want to give them the best information possible as we go into next year.”

The arguments are all the same for and against online gambling in Iowa as they are everywhere else. Those opposed are worried about underage gamblers and protecting those that may not be able to protect themselves. Those who want to legalize online gambling argue that the money is being wagered anyway, why not get that money back into the state.

Kirk Uhler, a lobbyist for U.S. Digital Gaming, stated,

“The fact of the matter is online poker is taking place in the United States. It is taking place in Iowa. It is unregulated, it is untaxed, and it is providing billions of dollars annually to illegal overseas operators.”

Senator Dotzler said he is not surprised that the first attempt in Iowa to legalize online gambling failed; he said that most bills of this significance could take two or three years to get support enough to go through.

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