Legalized Internet gambling has come to the United States once again. Online gambling has been legalized in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware in some capacity. Right now New Jersey has the largest potential player pool of those three states due to their 9 million residents. Nevada currently has a population of 3 million, with Delaware hovering around 1 million residents. But if the Lone Star State has its way, it will nearly double that combined possible player pool with their more than 26 million residents if the recent legislation proposing legalized online poker in that state is passed.
With the recent rejection of online gambling legislation in California, Texas currently stands as the state with the largest potential player pool of online gamblers. And if the recent constitutional amendment proposed this past Tuesday is okayed, the old saying that “Everything is bigger in Texas” will certainly apply to online poker. State legislators put forth the proposed constitutional amendment as a measure to authorize online poker in Texas, if and when it is legalized and regulated by federal law.
The Department of Justice 2011 flip-flop laid the foundation for New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware to pass online gambling legislation at the state level. And since the DOJ has allowed that lottery sales and some other forms of online gambling (like poker) should be regulated and handled at the state level, every one of the 50 United States has a chance to develop their own online gambling picture. While the Texas proposition would not provide for online poker until and if it is adopted at the federal level, companies would no doubt be clamoring to develop an infrastructure which would have them prepared once the feds give their go-ahead.
The US government may never decide to blanket the country with federal online poker approval at that level, but if the proposed state constitutional amendment is passed, the Lone Star State could see an instant influx of millions of dollars in online poker licensing revenue. And should the US government decide not to legalize online poker at the federal level, or should this constitutional amendment effort fall through, Texas’ own US Congressman Joe Barton has once again re-introduced federal online poker bill HR 2366.
Whether at the federal or state level, it appears that the online poker picture in Texas is starting to develop. And with Nevada recently making history by passing the first interstate legislative online poker package in the US, the Lone Star State would see at least one intermediate suitor hoping to benefit from its vast population of popular online poker players. There is currently legislation on the table in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Hawaii, California and several other states proposing legalized online poker. But if Texas can beat those other states to become number 4 in the US online poker picture, there are 26 million good reasons to believe they would instantly become the predominant player in a young but growing multibillion dollar industry.