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A year's delay for the Iowa online poker proposal

The issue of online poker legalisation in the state of Iowa is not dead; merely deferred, according to reports in the Des Moines Register as the week drew to a close. Despite passing an early committee on a 9-6 vote, the legalisation proposal stalled on political objections in the Senate Ways and Means Committee before even reaching the floor, with the bill's author facing the fact that committee members were in need of more information on the issue.

However, the bill is far from dead; on Thursday the Ways and Means Committee stripped the online poker legalisation element out and deferred it for a full report on the pros and cons of intrastate legalisation - and the practicalities of regulation - as a precursor to a full debate on the issue in 2012.

Members of the committee said Thursday that the online poker proposal was too controversial to advance this year, instead referring the proposal to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission with a request that it present a full report on the matter by December 1,2011.

The Commission was specifically charged with addressing the current state of unregulated Internet poker play in Iowa, consumer protection, and “responsible gaming” measures that can be implemented. It was also tasked with consulting Iowa land casino operators and potential Internet poker hub operators in developing the report.

This will be followed by a debate between better informed parties.

Having removed the controversial online gambling proposal from Senate File 458, the committee progressed other gambling elements, including allowing advance deposits to place online or telephone bets on live horse races.

Sen. William Dotzler said the decision to defer the legalisation bill for a full report enables politicians to take a considered and thorough position on the subject in the knowledge that thousands of Iowans are already playing poker online. It also highlighted the important revenue contribution to state coffers that legalisation could deliver, he noted.

“This is a good bill and it’s a move in the right direction,” Dotzler said.

Source: InfoPowa News

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