Multiple states moving forward with poker bills

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Dec 22, 2012 Posted in Live Poker News, US Poker News | No Comments »

chips-us-flagAs Nevada is gearing-up for a January launch of intra-state online poker (the first state in the nation that will offer legalized and regulated online poker) a number of other states are moving forward with their own online poker bills, looking to get out ahead of the curve as federal legislation in the immediate future seems like a long-shot at best.

Among the states exploring online poker bills are California and New Jersey, with several other states from Massachusetts to Delaware having discussed the possibility. Of these states New Jersey is the farthest along, with a piece of online poker legislation already having passed the state legislature as well as the state senate, and now awaiting a decision by Governor Chris Christie, who can wither sign the bill or veto the bill as he did to a similar bill last year.

The New Jersey bill bears a strong resemblance to the Nevada legislation, although it does go a step further in that it offers casino games as well as poker. Like the Nevada bill, New Jersey will fast-track current operators, allowing brick & mortar casinos currently licensed in New Jersey to offer New Jersey residents online poker and casino games.

Should Governor Christie sign the bill it would open the door for a return of PokerStars to the United States, as they have brokered a deal to purchase the Atlantic Club Casino, contingent upon the online poker bill being passed in New Jersey.

California has also reintroduced their own online poker bill which has been floated for the past couple years, but has never been able to gain the support needed to be brought up for a vote. California has seen a number of problems on the online poker front, most notably the warring tribal gaming factions, which along with the licensed card-rooms in the state seem to be split 50/50 over the online poker bill.

Meanwhile, over in Texas, the legislature is looking to expand gambling in the state, specifically legalizing poker in the state (live poker that is). According to the summary of the “Poker Gaming Act of 2013” cash-games would be permissible at current gambling halls (such as tribal casinos, bingo halls, and other locales) as well as tournaments with buy-ins up to $100.

So with federal online poker dead for 2012, it appears that the states will be moving forward with their own bills, which will either force the federal government hand, or simply make federal legislation a moot point if enough states get out in front of the online poker issue. And with all of that going on states continue to expand their Brick & Mortar gaming, which is getting to the point where virtually every state will have full-resort-style-casinos in the near future.


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