Iowa Looking to Regulate Online Poker

Published on: March 2, 2011 

Iowa has proposed a bill to regulate the online poker industry in the State. Following the lead of the State of New Jersey, where lawmakers approved an online gambling bill earlier in 2011, Iowa is hoping to regulate some of the online gambling industry.

Unlike in New Jersey where the bill regulates online casino gambling, in Iowa the proposed bill would regulate only the online poker industry. This is a step forward among the states of the US in ending the prohibition on online gambling in the country.

Millions of Americans currently enjoy the game of online poker. Billions of dollars are being generated by US players who are playing at off-shore sites with none of it remaining in the US.

US Digital Gaming is a California-based company that would look to be the operator of the Iowa poker network if the bill is approved. Vice President of government affairs for US Digital Gaming, Kirk Uhler, stated that "what is driving this is the recognition that you have an existing activity that's already taking place in an unregulated environment and the revenue is all flowing overseas."

In Iowa and New Jersey, all regulated online casinos and online poker rooms would have to follow Federal law. UIGEA (the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) makes it illegal for a financial institution to transfer funds for the purpose of Internet gambling. On the other hand, online gambling within a state is legal. This means that while Iowa and New Jersey will be able to regulate online gambling, it will only be legal for residents of their state.

There are a number of restrictions that would be put into place in Iowa. The same age restrictions that are followed in land-based casinos would be applied to online gambling so that residents below the age of 21 would not be permitted to gamble. Players would be able to place funds in a special account. Gambling limits would be set on maximum bets amounts and length of play and players would then be able to access the account and place bets on poker cash games or tournaments.

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