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Study: 10 states, including Hawaii, eye Internet gambling bills

By Wayne Parry

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 06:40 a.m. HST, Feb 05, 2014

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. >> At least 10 U.S. states, including Hawaii, are considering bills to legalize or expand Internet gambling this year, according to a group that tracks gambling-related legislation worldwide.

But the Gambling Compliance survey also finds slim chances for a national law to regulate Internet poker, predicting a major effort by online gambling opponents to block it in Congress.

So far, three states allow Internet gambling: New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware. The report says proposals for new or expanded Internet betting could be considered in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

"In 2013, 10 states considered legislation that would legalize online casino-style gambling, which was a historic high," said Chris Krafcik, the group's research director. "This year is shaping up to be at least as busy."

In California, one of the largest potential markets, Indian tribes are trying to agree on how to legalize Internet poker. Tribal leaders from two coalitions met last month and said they made progress but still need more time to work out an accord. The report said a bill is likely to be acted upon before an Aug. 31 deadline.

A bill in Mississippi that would have legalized Internet gambling died Tuesday when the state legislature failed to act on it.

Gambling Compliance also says Nevada may consider expanding online gambling, which is currently limited to poker.

It predicts Delaware, where Internet gambling is off to a slow start, will seek cross-border agreements with other states to expand the pool of bettors, a tactic New Jersey also is considering. A bill awaiting consideration in the New Jersey legislature would create a new class of licensing to permit interstate and foreign bets to be taken by the Atlantic City casinos.

New Jersey's 15 Internet gambling sites took in nearly $8.4 million between their late November launch and the end of last year. The state will release January revenue figures next week.

The report holds out little hope for a national bill legalizing Internet poker, noting that it is a midterm election year where anything politically risky is unlikely to be enacted. In fact, it said proponents and opponents of Internet gambling are jockeying for position in the U.S. Senate, which is considering a blanket prohibition on Internet gambling.

That is the goal of Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who is funding a campaign to ban online gambling.

On the pro-Internet gambling side, Caesars Entertainment lobbied more heavily last year than any other group to legalize Internet gambling at the federal level, according to the report.

The report also predicted a handful of other states will consider joining Georgia, Illinois and Minnesota in permitting lottery tickets or games to be purchased or played online.


Associated Press writer Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Miss., contributed to this story.

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Mythman wrote:
Our legislators have been hampered by getting sub par advice on the gaming industry. Without gaming,except for illegal low grade type, it's hard to have resident expertise to draw on, adding to the burden of the legislators to understand a really complex industry.
on February 5,2014 | 06:17AM
localguy wrote:
Online gambling is the last thing the Nei needs. People will gamble, using their credit card to cover expenses. In no time their card will be maxed out, they will be deep in debt, their finances will suffer. Expect serious financial problems to hit Nei residents, our bureaucrats will look the other way as the money flows in.
on February 5,2014 | 06:47AM
LG, you would agree that a form of gambling such as a lottery would be beneficial to the nei in regards to the revenue collected here instead of LV. I am not condoning casino's and what goes with it, but just a simple lottery.
on February 5,2014 | 08:10AM
paniolo wrote:
It's their money. Let them use it the way they want. If a person buys drugs, his health and finances suffer. If same person buys cigarettes and alcohol, his health and finances suffers. If same person buys large soda, plate lunch with extra gravy and a scoop macaroni everyday, they spending way too much money and their health suffers, too. It's THEIR life, let them use THEIR money how they want. What if somebody told YOU how to spend your money, don't buy this, don't buy that, would you listen? I don't think so. Nobody going tell me how to spend my money, so, I don't tell anybody how they spend theirs.
on February 5,2014 | 11:46AM
South76 wrote:
Why internet gambling....getting tax from internet bought items has been dismal for the state. What this state needs is maybe offshore boat gambling at least the money is closer to shore than some internet operated gambling from somewhere else so far away where it may hard to recoup the state share.
on February 5,2014 | 09:26AM
serious wrote:
Actually, offshore gambling is already here. That's the major source of income for the cruise lines--we need a lottery to relieve us from the tax burden and the Jones Act.
on February 5,2014 | 09:54AM
Serious, you always bring up the Jones Act, but, how does the Jones Act relate to this story. The Jones Act is a measure regarding possible injury to seaman yet retain their ability to collect on liability issues concerning the US statutes. Not sure where you're going with it in regards to gambling.
on February 5,2014 | 01:23PM
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