More states are looking to make a push for online gambling in America lately and the outlook is starting to look much better. California, Nevada, New Jersey and Massachusetts have already got the ball rolling with Nevada being the first to pass a bill. Illinois is the newest state looking to move forward with onling gambling. The proposal laid out is the most promising of any and should be a model for other states to look up to.
The latest state to jump on the iPoker bandwagon is Illinois. State Senate leader John Cullerton submitted a letter to his co-workers earlier this week. The letter is basically a proposal to add online poker to the current state lottery program. His main selling point to Governor Pat Quinn is the hundreds of millions in tax revenue that would be generated from such offerings. He also goes on to state he wants Illinois to be the frontrunner in the race to get online poker up and running.
Illinois is certainly big enough to support a decent sized player pool and Cullerton wants to take advantage of this. His plan is to get worldwide recognition and develop a multi state player pool. Most other states are only seeking to get the game running in their respective states. This move could force other states pushing for online poker to do the same which would ultimately be good for players in these jurisdictions.
Here is part of the letter containing its most pertinent information. The full proposal can be read here.
After careful study, I am pleased to propose for your consideration legislation that ensures Illinois will retain its preeminent status and success in the Internet gaming (“iGaming”) arena as well as immunize Illinois from the ill-effects of hostile federal legislation now pending before the U.S. Senate. I intend on filing the proposed legislation as an amendment to HB 4148 on Tuesday, May 15, 2012. As explained below, it is imperative that the General Assembly enact this proposed legislation before adjourning its Spring Session.
The proposed legislation creates a new Division of Internet Gaming within the Illinois Lottery to further capture new revenues available in the iGaming marketplace in a manner that protects consumers, provides logical and responsible regulation, and advances the public good. The proposed legislation is prompted by the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent opinion that not only endorsed Illinois’ Internet Lottery Test authorized by the 2009 Capital Bill, but also cleared the way for states to authorize and regulate intra-state Internet wagering other than sports wagering.
I offer this legislation at a time when several other states, such as New Jersey, California, and Massachusetts, are considering iGaming legislation with various regulatory frameworks. Our study of these frameworks indicates that they are ill-suited to harness iGaming’s dynamic nature and potential in an ethical and socially responsible manner that maximizes revenue. Indeed, certain forms of iGaming, especially poker, rely on large pools of potential players and states that move swiftly to design a system that captures the widest audience of participants will have an advantage in terms of long range success.
Nevada continues to be the front runner in the push however and looks to be the first state to start offering online games to Americans. The Nevada Gaming Policy Committee met for just the second time in over 30 years this week. The focus of the discussion was about player protection and underage gambling. Bwin.party CEO, Jim Ryan was also in attendance and addressed many of the concerns helping to put many of these issues to rest by assuring his company has a strong track record in protecting its players and stopping underage gambling.
The timeline for online poker in America is still unknown at this moment but it’s looking better than ever. Nevada has already passed a bill to allow poker and licenses could be issued in as little as 30 days, with sites up and running in 6 months or so according to Gaming Control Board chairman, Mark Lipparelli.
The only set back has been from New Jersey. It’s not really a set back as far as allowing iPoker, more of a disappointment for trying to block the best site in the world. They recently introduced legislation proposing to ban all sites who continued to offer online betting to Americans after December 31st 2006. In October of 2006 was when the UIGEA was passed forcing most sites to leave the American market. The main sites remaining were Full Tilt, Poker Stars and the Cereus network. This bill would effectively ban these sites from entering the market if online poker is allowed, in New Jersey.
This would all be well and good, and I could understand not allowing a site that broke American laws, however as with all politics there is always a hidden agenda. Bwin.party is the main company that has partnered with the New Jersey land based casinos to offer their platforms once they pass an online bill. Party Poker which is now part of Bwin.party Gaming was still offering their services after October 2006 which technically means they broke American laws. They stopped in late November hence the date of December 31st 2006 in the proposed bill. This would still allow Bwin into the market yet force out their biggest competitors. If we put 2 and 2 together it’s obvious this is just a ploy to control the market. This is always a bad way to approach business and hopefully it won’t get passed. Allowing one company to control a small market will be terrible for players.
Some other good signs that online poker could be moving along is the attention from the mainstream media it has been receiving. Both the Los Angeles Times and Reuters have been discussing the topic in the last week. Joseph Menn from Reuters wrote “Rushing for online poker spoils, some US firms tie up with partners with a past.” The piece focuses on the online companies such as Bwin.party joining forces with land based casinos in hopes of cashing in on the soon to be regulated market.
MGM Resorts’ choice of Bwin.Party as a partner while applying for online poker licenses in Nevada might seem unusual. It isn’t. The alliance reflects the calculated risks that major casino operators, Native American tribes and social-gaming giants Zynga and Facebook are weighing as they angle for a slice of a market valued at billions of dollars a year.
Other points of discussion include the potential takeover of Full Tilt by Poker Stars and Zynga poker. The article delves into the history of some of the companies looking to partake in american online gaming and could stand to hurt the overall outlook those not in the know have about online gaming. But, any press is good press I suppose.
People familiar with the situation say that as part of the settlement talks with the Justice Department, PokerStars is considering buying Full Tilt and refunding U.S. players hundreds of millions of dollars missing from their accounts. PokerStars confirmed the settlement talks but declined to comment on Full Tilt or its American aspirations. Full Tilt officials couldn’t be reached for comment.