Positive Momentum For U.S. Online Poker, Gambling Bills Everywhere

May 18, 2016
Positive Momentum For U.S. Online Poker, Gambling Bills Everywhere

The active legislation in four states that are considering legalizing and regulating online gambling and poker all face uncertain futures.

But, in the past week or so, there’s been positive news on all fronts. That’s despite the fact that there are reasons to be pessimistic for iGaming bills in all these states, as well.

Michigan and online gambling: Very positive

Despite the newness of the effort — a bill surfaced this spring and a hearing occurred in May — Michigan looks to be the favorite out of all four states.

And while there are certainly obstacles to overcome, the bill’s sponsor, Senator Mike Kowall, continues to express confidence the bill will get through the legislature.

From Online Poker Report:

Kowall noted that he has met with all the potential stakeholders over the past three years, and in my estimation, it seems doubtful he’d make such a serious push were the state’s commercial casinos and tribes against online gambling.

Kowall confirmed this, telling OPR that the only voices of opposition to the measure were the typical anti-gambling crowd, which he fully expected.

And later:

“I’m fairly confident we can get it done,” Kowall told OPR. “There’s still time to get it out of the Senate and sent over to the House for consideration.”

So, while it’s still possible that Kowall is overly optimistic on iGaming, he apparently believes the momentum exists to get legislation to the finish line.

Pennsylvania and online gambling: Back on the radar

The Pennsylvania online gambling bill has been sidelined for months now. But it appears to be ready to come out of hibernation.

According to the sponsor, Rep. John Payne, in the Reading Eagle, the bill is set to resurface in June.

There was at least a chance that the legislation simply died where it sat, on the House floor. So the fact that it is still on the agenda is a good sign.

And while it is tied to other gambling expansions in the state, it still has a chance of getting passed this year.

California and online poker: Not dead yet

The political situation surrounding online poker regulation in California continues to be contentious. But not so contentious that the stakeholders have decided to throw up their hands and walk away.

An Assembly Appropriations Committee hearing had been slated for this week, but has been pushed back to next week.

The fact that it is still moving through the legislature at all is a sign that at least some parties have faith that the remaining differences can be resolved. Chief among those is “bad actor” language aimed at keeping PokerStars out of the state.

New York and online poker: Still hanging around

The least amount of positive momentum came in New York, but there was momentum nonetheless.

Both the bills from Sen. John Bonacic and Rep. Gary Pretlow have been amended in the past week. And while that may not indicate any sort of meaningful progress, it also means the bills aren’t considered entirely dead for 2016.

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