The Fight: Christie Stops the Clock, Iowa Drafts Intrastate Online Poker Bill

This week on The Fight, an expected deadline on a decision for legalizing online intrastate gambling in New Jersey is extended and a state legislator in Iowa drafts an intrastate online poker bill.

New Jersey decision delayed until March

February 24th was the expected deadline for New Jersey governor Chris Christie to pass or veto S490, a bill that allows state casinos to operate intrastate online gambling, including poker. However, as the state legislature is currently in recess, the deadline has been extended until March 3rd, the next scheduled day the legislature returns to doing its legislative duties. The delay gives more time for lobbyists on both side of the issue to bend Christie’s ear in hopes of seeing their side of the issue. Caesars Entertainment is one of the most vocal opponents of S490, believing that federal legislation is the better option to generate more revenue for the company. Caesars also believes that if the state bill passes, the chances for federal legislation lessen. On the other side stands the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA), stating the legislation will create thousands of new jobs and raise $250 million at a time the state is undergoing a growing budget deficit. Throw in the continuing speculation that the Republican Christie is considering a presidential bid in 2012 and it leads to an interesting week ahead in New Jersey.

Iowa moves ahead with online poker bill

An article in the Des Moines Register February 25th discussed a draft of a gambling bill making the rounds in the Iowa state legislature. One of the more controversial provisions in the draft was a section allowing state casinos to offer intrastate online poker state residents. A similar bill was considered last year but fell apart before after worries that children would be able to access their parent’s accounts. The current draft states that Iowa residents 21 and over will be allowed to play and that safeguards will be in place to prevent underage individuals from playing. The article states that 150,000 Iowans “illegally” play online poker, costing the state between $30 and $35 million a year in lost revenue.

Expect further developments on these two stories and the ongoing talk of intrastate gambling legislation in Florida and California in the coming weeks on The Fight.

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Kevin Mathers

Widely known by his twitter handle "Kevmath", many consider Kevin a go-to source for news and information in the poker community. Kevin finished on the bubble in the 2014 edition of the BLUFF Power 20.
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