Iowa Online Poker Laws

Iowa Online Poker Law

Iowa is getting closer and closer to passing a bill that will legalize online poker. Certain elected officials have been trying to get it legalized for three years now, which is as long as any legalization efforts at a state level in the United States.

But 2013 was the third year in row that a bill that would legalize online poker in Iowa failed. It failed to even make it out of a committee. In 2012, the same bill made it through Iowa’s Senate 29-20, but wasn’t even submitted for House vote because of an obvious lack of support.

Iowa is another state chock full of casinos with no apparent opposition to gambling. In 2012, the state’s 21 casinos collectively cleared more than $1.4 billion in adjusted gross income.

Jeff Danielson is the Democrat senator who is spearheading Iowa’s move toward legalizing online poker. It seems that since his bill solely focuses on poker, it’s generating interest from both Republicans and Democrats.

Danielson estimates between $3 million and $13 million would be generated by legalizing online poker in Iowa, a drop in the bucket considering the hundreds of millions generated by gambling each year.

The state’s nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency estimated Internet poker games could bring as much as $15 million to Iowa, including $13.2 million in taxes and up to $1.8 million for charitable contributions from license-holders.

Danielson’s bill would allow casinos that already are licensed by the state of Iowa to apply for online poker licenses. The sites would pay 22-24 percent on rakes and fees. The bill also opens the possibility for intrastate and even international contracts. The bill reads: “...an Internet wager may be placed from any location within this state or from any other location where authorized by law.”

If that’s the case, then Iowa would instantly become one of the country’s premiere online poker states.

Danielson said this about his bill: “Both the technology and the cultural acceptance has gotten ahead of our own ability to have a decent policy for what to do about it. To do nothing, by default, I think is both wrong morally because it puts Iowans in a position they shouldn’t be in. But also it’s wrong when you look at the economics of what’s occurring in this area.”

But opposition exists, and it may be strong enough to keep Danielson’s efforts at bay. According to a newspaper poll, 73 percent of Iowan’s are against “online gambling.” The poll, however, didn’t differentiate between online gambling and online poker.

When Can I Play Online Poker in Iowa?

If Danielson and his bipartisan allies had their way, the sites would already be warming up. Once a few more states go live, Iowa will be sure to join the party. And if Danielson’s bill is passed as it read in 2013, online poker players in Iowa will be very lucky, indeed. Look for his bill to pass the Senate and fail the House again in 2014, then make it all the way through in 2015.

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