2012 was not a good year for online poker in the state of Iowa as legislation that would have allowed the option was not passed. However, reports have now surfaced that show that the state is ready to consider passing legislation for online poker.
According to a recent report by PokerNewsDaily, Jeff Lamberti, the Chairman of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, was interviewed on the Iowa Press. The Iowa Press is a local television show in the stat and Lamberti spoke about how the board was ready for Iowa legislation to act. Lamberti stated:
“That’s really where the next step in gaming is moving. We’ve seen some states approve it and are moving in that direction. In actuality, our administrator is very knowledgeable (on the subject) and did a paper regarding internet poker specifically.”
Lamberti further stated that if the state decided to pass a law for online poker, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission would be ready to implement the laws as soon as possible. Lamberti stated: “We want to do like we do with our current facilities, have a high level of integrity. We want to regulate it so the people who engage in that can trust the product.”
The state does not currently have the framework in place to offer online poker options but Wes Ehrecke, the executive director of the Iowa Gaming Association has spoke on the subject, offering up suggestions. Ehrecke stated that they would like to see the option available via website portals of the casinos which would be regulated by the Racing and Gaming Commission. This would assure players that when they play their favorite games, they can keep the minors away from game play.
Ehrecke also mentioned interstate play. The executive director has estimated that around 150,000 residents of Iowa play online poker at offshore sites. This number could grow considerably if players have a regulated source in their backyard.
Ehrecke further commented on the customer service aspect of online gambling regulation. He stated: “If you’re playing (on an off-shore site) and had a straight flush and win $5000, what happens if you don’t get paid? Who do you complain to if the site is in Antigua? That wouldn’t happen if it is regulated by the Racing and Gaming Commission and offered through our casino platform.”
The New Year is almost upon us and it will definitely be interesting to see which states, if any, will be the next to offer online poker or online gambling legislation. Will it be Iowa? We will just have to wait and see!