THE FIGHT: Delaware Joins Nevada in Regulating Online Poker

Big news, Bluffers: A Delaware bill authorizing the state lottery and the three racetrack casinos it regulates to offer various forms of Internet gambling, including poker, became law this week. The bill, which was approved by the Senate on Wednesday in a 14-6 vote, was quickly signed into law on Thursday by Democratic Gov. Jack Markell.

Before Wednesday’s vote, Mike Barlow, Markell’s chief legal counsel, told lawmakers: “The [bill] is a balanced way of enabling Delaware to stay at the forefront of the gaming industry while preserving the jobs we have and hopefully creating an opportunity for additional capital investment, additional employment and additional growth in our economy in this area.”

For perspective, Delaware is the third state or territory — behind Nevada and the Virgin Islands — to legalize Internet casino gaming, poker, or some combination of both; the second state — behind Illinois — to legalize sale of Internet lottery tickets; and the first state to enact Internet gambling legislation in the first session such legislation debuted.

Under the new law, the Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012, Internet gambling will initially be offered on an intrastate basis, only. Significantly, though, the law allows for interstate Internet gambling if the lottery determines that such gambling complies both with federal law and with laws in other jurisdictions where players are located.

Poker and casino games will be available on websites branded after the state’s casinos — Delaware Park Racetrack & Slots, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino and Harrington Raceway & Casino — while lottery ticket games will be available on the lottery’s website. State officials told GamblingCompliance.com that law’s accompanying regulations could be issued as soon as January 2013.

­It is not yet clear whether Nevada, where regulators are in the process of reviewing numerous Internet poker license applications, or Delaware will become the first state in American history to rake a legal hand of Internet poker. More on this to come.

Meanwhile, there was no change in the Capitol Hill Co-Sponsor Count. According to GovTrack.us, Texas Rep. Joe Barton’s Internet poker bill, HR2366, has 30 supporters, while California Rep. John Campbell’s Internet gambling bill, HR1174, remains close behind with 29.

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