Delaware Could Opt-Out of Federal Online Poker Bill

September 26, 2012
Delaware Could Opt-Out of Federal Online Poker Bill

At present, the Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Proection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act is being floated around in Congress as a way to make online poker legal in the United States. If passed, each state would then have the option to opt-in to the new law. Utah has already passed a law and will officially be the first state to opt-out of the law should it pass. The second state that could chose that course of action may be Delaware.

In an article appearing the University of Delaware’s Independent Student Newspaper known as The Review, Economics and public policy professor Williams Latham believes that Delaware would opt-out of the bill because the bill would nullify their recently passed online gambling law.

The bill entitled The Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012 was passed and signed into law in June of this year and made Delaware the first state in the US to legalize online gambling outside of poker. Per the bill, each of the state’s three casinos can setup and run their own gambling site to include horse racing, poker, and online casino games.

The bill currently going through Congress would eliminate the online casino games and leave only poker and horse racing available to the state. According to Tammy Anderson, a professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice, the bill would face natural resistance because Governor Jack Markell spent a great deal of political capital in order to get online gambling legalized.

Note that the article on The Review did not solicit any opinions from Delaware state politicians, but it does bring up an interesting point for states like Delaware who chose to legalize online casino games. The latest federal bill would limit their ability to offer casinos games and could force them to either abandon that potential revenue or go about regulating the industry on their own.

The current federal bill effectively puts a ban on all forms of online gambling with the exception of online poker and horse racing. All other forms, including sports betting, would be banned. At present, the bill doesn’t have the necessary support to get through the house and Senate, but supporters of the bill hope they can cash in their “one time” during the lame duck session of Congress.

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