If you live in the United States, you have no doubt heard about the impending “Fiscal Cliff” from which we are about to plummet in 2013. Let me be straightforward here, I am in no way discounting our current problematic economic situation in the United States. But it seems like all we have heard about lately is the impending fiscal cliff from which our currently unstable economic situation will fall if our lame-duck Congress doesn’t take drastic measures before the end of this year. Why are we discussing this in an online poker blog? Because online poker very well could prove to be the much-needed brakes that keep the United States economic vehicle from crashing.
Currently, online poker legislation exists only in Nevada and Delaware, and those two states are implementing measures of their own which are not governed by federal regulations. Any income generated from taxes and licensing is theirs to keep. The impending fiscal cliff we face will begin on midnight of December 31 thanks to increases in payroll taxes, decreases in tax breaks for businesses, the end of tax cuts enacted from 2001 to 2003, and the start of Obamacare healthcare taxes. But passage of some national online poker bill could provide immediate relief from a financial New Year hangover in the form of licensing and ongoing income to the tune of billions of dollars in taxing and regulation.
Currently, the Department of Justice and the White House feel that online poker is legal as long as your state allows it. That means if you live in Delaware or Nevada, as soon as those states offer virtual poker you are good to go. But the other 48 states have very disparate and differing views concerning online poker, and federal passage of something like the Reid-Kyl bill is needed on a national level. Many well respected traditional brick-and-mortar companies are begging for federal regulation, because this would allow them instant access to fifty states, rather than just one or two. Caesars Entertainment, Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts have all backed a federal online poker legislation package.
And Nevada online poker progress has proven that licensing offers an immediate multimillion dollar cash cow. That state has already approved 12 companies for interactive gaming licenses, generating millions of dollars in instant revenue for the state. So, just how much national fiscal cliff repair cash are we talking about? Conservative estimates show that Nevada could generate about $180 million in online poker revenue their first year. When you consider that the Silver State is only the 35th most populous, with less than 3 million residents, the potential financial impact nationally really hits home.
Iowa, New Jersey and California have all attempted but failed to pass some sort of online poker legislation. And as individual states watch our representatives in Washington fail to take steps to slow down the economic struggles in the United States, many more will be jumping on their own state-sponsored online poker legislation bandwagon. If you are in one of the upcoming states to pass online poker legislation, that is great news for you as a poker player, and for your state’s economic health. But we currently have multiple bills treading water in the Congressional pool that could be slipped in as a rider on some upcoming budget plan related to the fiscal cliff, and provide much needed national cash now. Both sides of the aisle may bury their proverbial hatchets on a contentious piece of legislation if an online poker package attached to it shows several billion dollars of revenue in the upcoming years.