The state of Iowa has been considering the impact of legalizing online poker, just like many other states in the Union. The main regulator of Iowa’s gaming industry, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has issued a report on the financial impact regulation would have over Iowa’s economy. According to their report, legalizing online poker could generate anywhere from $13 million to $60 million for Iowa’s economy.
State legislators are willing to consider the potential tax revenue this could mean for the state. Iowa’s casino taxes are set at 22%. Issuing a similar tax for online poker would help the state generate between $3 million and $13 million.
Sen. Jeff Danielson is one of the lawmakers who has considered passing legal online poker legislation. Danielson considered issuing a bill to move forward with legalization earlier this year, but decided not to proceed. He felt more evidence was needed to convince his supporters to move forward on regulation.
With the new report issued by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, Danielson believes he now has the ammunition to press forward with his bill. Although he is unsure how it will play out, Danielson is sure the issue is headed for discussion by other lawmakers.
Dan Kehl is the head of Kehl Management, a firm which runs casinos throughout Iowa. Kehl said his firm would be eager to introduce Internet poker. He feels such a move would bring in additional revenues, without affecting revenue from the main casino.
Legal experts continue to debate the status of gambling within state borders. Although federal laws clearly prohibit gambling across state lines, some experts argue it is perfectly legal to gamble within state borders. This could actually work to the benefit of state governments. Restricting online gaming to Iowa residents would make it easier to track revenues and tax appropriately.
Critics have raised a few concerns over introducing Internet gambling within the state. One concern is that Native American tribes would not be subject to regulation or taxation. In the event local tribes decided to take advantage of Internet gambling, the revenue generated within the state would be lessened.