Which US State Will Win Race To Offer Online Gaming?

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Posted on Nov 9th 2010  -  Subject: Which US State Will Win Race To Offer Online Gaming?

So far in 2010, four U.S. states have attempted to introduce legislation to legalize and regulate online gaming; Iowa, California, New Jersey, and Florida. Both California and New Jersey have received the lion share of the media attention for their efforts so far. That is likely due to the size of their markets/population and the deep need of the states for revenue. Each state has experienced record deficits and are looking everywhere possible to fill the gap.

The states are acting independently of the U.S. government who's official office of the DOJ (Department of Justice) is tasked with enforcing the Bush led UIGEA legistlation limiting online gambling transactions.  The U.S. Congress has been moving forward in fits and starts to enact its own legislation. With Republican's regaining power in the House, it seems those efforts will be delayed somewhat.  But the opportunity for a new powerful source of revenue may be too tempting for even the Republicans not to act eventually.

EGaming Review analyzed the potential revenue from egaming for the four most active states:

New Jersey seems to be the state best positioned to push through legislation. A bill introduced in January by Senator Raymond Lesniak proposes the state’s Atlantic casinos offer online versions of their land-based games to state residents, including poker, blackjack and baccarat, with the state collecting 20% of annual gross gaming revenues.

Wit the state suffering from a bad recession, ailing horse racing and struggling Atlantic City casino industry, they see no other alternative than to tackle legalising egaming and soon. A study commissioned by lobby group the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) which worked with Lesniak on drafting the bill, has estimated that a NJ intrastate gambling system could raise up to US$250m in gross gaming revenue and US$55m in taxes on an annual basis.

New Jersey Senators are meeting this week to review their current bill on forming an intratstate egaming system and hope to have a vote on the proposals by the end of the year.

It will be interesting to see which U.S. state is first to enact legislation and how the U.S. government and the DOJ respond to their efforts.  If the money starts to come in for one state, you can expect many other states to hurriedly jump on the bandwagon.

 

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