Iowa has always been a leader when it comes to land-based casinos, and now they have their sights set on becoming one of the first states to implement online poker regulations. On Wednesday, the House State Government Committee approved a measure to study the effects of online gambling in the state.
The measure will require the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to study online poker, and issue a report before the end of the year on the subject. If that report comes back positive towards online poker, regulations could be less than a year away for Iowa.
“Although this looks like a small step, it will certainly bring to light some of the positives associated with online poker,” said Gaming Analyst Brad Dawkins. “This is a report that many states may draw from in the future, and it may be the key that opens the door to the entire country when it comes to online gambling regulations.”
While Dawkins is optimistic, there is just as strong a chance that the report will scare off lawmakers. If anything negative comes back in the report having to do with finances or social impact, it could destroy any hope that online poker becomes regulated on a state level in Iowa..
Legislators were eager to discuss the issue this legislative session, but that did not turn out to be the case. Instead, lawmakers took the easy way out and called for a study to be done on Internet poker. Consumer protections and unregulated play that currently takes place will be two of the focuses of the study.
Iowa is one of several states that are starting to figure out that regulating the online gambling industry may be more beneficial than enforcing outdated laws. Online gambling has become one of the most popular forms of entertainment worldwide, but the US has continued to hold on to prohibition.
At a federal level, support is growing to throw out the outdated laws and replace them with legislation that would create the framework for a regulated online poker system in the US. That legislation is moving at a snails pace through the House.