Hawaii and Iowa scrap plans for online poker

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Mar 21, 2012 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

With Nevada well on their way to being the first state in the US with legalized and regulated online poker games, other states have started exploring the possibility as well. Unfortunately, the online poker bills introduced in both the Hawaii and Iowa state legislatures have been scrapped for now.

The prospect for an online gaming bill in Iowa seemed favorable after the State Senate passed the measure, but the bill was left to die in the Iowa House. House Speaker, Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) told reporters there was a “lack of interest” from other House members, saying, “What are we in? Week 10? I don’t know if I’ve had three members mention this subject to me … until this week when the big hub-bub was.”

Hawaii was more of a long-shot from the get-go, considering the state is only one of two in the entire nation that offers zero legalized gambling options to the residents (Utah being the other) which is odd for a state that is seen on the progressive side of most issues.

This week the Hawaii online gaming bills, which would have created brick & mortar casinos, as well as an online lotteries and gaming corporation, were sent to the scrap heap, as none of the three bills introduced managed to gain any momentum in the Hawaii legislature.

This leaves only Nevada and New Jersey as states with any form of online poker legislation on the table; Nevada being the furthest along, considering it’s already accepting license applications. Nevada also has a regulatory framework in place which calls for online poker providers to already be licensed by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, or partnered with a licensed entity. Additionally, licensees will need to pay a $250,000 fee and abide by the following rules:

* All players must be 21 years of age

* Players may not transfer funds to one another (inter-account transfers)

* Players are allowed only a single account per operator

* Operators must keep all hand histories for a five-year period

* Operators must take appropriate action to insure players are of age

* Operators must take appropriate action to insure poker bots are not being used

* Operators will be responsible for setting aside a fund to pay for investigations by the NGCB into their operations

Among the companies who have applied for a Nevada online gaming license are 888 (partnered with Caesar’s Entertainment) and bWin.Party (partnered with MGM Resorts International and Boyd Gaming).

A number of other states have shown an interest in online poker legislation, including Mississippi, Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, and California, as well as the recently failed measures in Iowa and Hawaii. We’ll be sure to keep you fully updated on the progress of online poker legislation in the US.

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