Maryland Governor Opposes Online Poker

Posted by Gerry Poltorak on Oct 26, 2011 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

Martin O’Malley, the governor of Maryland has stated that he is vehemently opposed to legal online poker sites. O’Malley is concerned that regulating the industry will take away revenues from Maryland’s lottery.

The governor has asked the two co-chairs of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction not to consider legalizing or regulating the industry. O’Malley argued that the state lottery system is a substantial revenue source for many states. Cutting it would jeopardize the education systems of many of these states.

The chairs of the committee must find a way to cut $1.5 trillion by 2021. If cuts are not made by the end of November, $1.2 trillion in cuts will be applied to the budget.

The online poker industry finds his reasoning to be flawed. They argue that poker and lotteries are not substitutes for each other. Players look at poker and lotteries as two entirely different entities. People who want to rely on skill are drawn to poker, while those who would rather rely on luck will continue to play the lottery system. Most people have a distinct preference towards online poker or lotteries.

Organizations such as the PPA aren’t the only ones making this argument. One Maryland resident made the same assertion. He said there is no overlap between those interested in playing the lottery and those who want to play online poker. This resident asked O’Malley and the Super Committee to change their stance on online poker. He argues that legalizing online poker will actually help states by bringing in an untapped source of tax revenues.

The most compelling piece of evidence against O’Malley’s view point is the fiscal year statements the Maryland Lottery released in August. These statements found that lottery sales posted record profits each year from 1997 to 2011. The popularity of online poker in recent years didn’t hurt lottery sales one bit.

O’Malley’s concerns are understandable, given Maryland’s current budget problems. However, his reasoning may be flawed. The Committee’s hearing on October 25th should shed more light on the future of the industry. The Committee will discuss the future of the movement to legalize and regulate online poker.

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