After December of last year saw the United States Department of Justice flip-flop their opinion regarding online gambling in the US, the door was left open for individual states to decide their online gambling destiny. Almost immediately Nevada passed legislation allowing online poker for their residents and visitors inside their state boundaries, and Delaware followed suit. Since then many states have pushed for some form of online gambling legislation, and the recent elections in the United States will have a lot to say about what the future of online gambling in America looks like in 2013.
Chris Krafcik is the head Research Director at GamblingCompliance, and he announced this week on Twitter that, “Federal and state lawmakers who sponsored Internet gambling bills between 2010 and 2012 achieved a 92% reelection rate” in the most recent 2012 US elections. That bodes well for states like New Jersey, Ohio, California and others that have some type of online gambling legislation tabled until next year. And there are still federal proposals that would provide a consistent experience across the nation.
One federal push comes from Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is proposing a ban on all forms of gaming online except for poker. His cause would have been helped if Democratic challenger Shelley Berkley had defeated Nevada Republican incumbent Dean Heller, but Heller is one of the few Republicans who is not dead set against agreeing to some type of online poker legislation. The Reid “only online poker” concession is most likely an olive branch offering to conservative Republican legislators like Heller who generally vote down any proposed online gambling legislation.
The DOJ in December of last year decided that online poker is a game of skill, thereby allowing it to be offered in the United States. And the above proposals only consider an across-the-board federal online poker online gambling piece of legislation. There are still those state lawmakers who would prefer to decide the details of their own state-run online gaming entities, no doubt with their minds on keeping as much money from the multibillion-dollar online gambling industry in their state coffers as possible.
One such legislator is New Jersey State Senator Ray Lesniak, who tried tirelessly to make the Garden State the first to legalize online gaming of all kinds, including poker, last year. Nevada and Delaware beat him to the punch, but Lesniak has vowed to pick up the fight anew in 2013. And in California, a pro-online poker group that was pushing for Internet gambling disbanded recently, leaving California’s hopes for online gambling legislation up in the air for the time being. While only two states have adopted some form of online gambling legislation in the US this year, friendly circumstances seem to dictate that at least online poker is a safe bet for more US states, if not the entire nation, in 2013.