• Iowa Multi-State Online Poker: Could Combine Players With Nevada, Washington DC

    Iowa lawmakers were discussing the possibility of legalizing online poker as part of a multi-state platform that would tap into the populations of other states considering the option such as Nevada and the District of Columbia.

    A change of stance by the Department of Justice has given the green light to states looking to open their doors to Web poker. Iowa was one of the first states to study the industry and its potential economic impact.

    Alone, the poker pool cap in Iowa would be no more than approximately 3 million, assuming everyone in Iowa played poker. Nevada’s population totals a little less than that at around 2.7 million while the District of Colombia came in around a half million. Together, the three regions could provide a viable online poker business that taps into a population of just over 6 million.

    “We believe that because of the Department of Justice ruling, we can now have a multi-state compact,” said Danielson, chairman of the Iowa Senate State Government Committee in an interview with the Des Moines Register.

    He compared such an arrangement with that of the state lottery PowerBall platform, which acts as a multi-state operator combining the population of 31 states.

    Danielson said he plans to draft legislation prior to the end of this session.

    State Sen. William Dotzler, D-Waterloo, said Tuesday he will likely serve as floor manager of the proposed Internet poker bill.

    “I think the evidence is pretty clear that Iowans are already gambling online. We are losing a lot of revenue here in the state of Iowa,” because Iowans are using off-shore Internet gambling accounts, Dotzler said.

    “We believe that Iowa has enough of a population of players to support a network on its own; that you wouldn’t need the interstate component in order to make it viable. But it certainly makes for a more robust opportunity if you set up the interstate opportunity,” said Kirk Uhlers, vice president of governmental affairs for U.S. Digital Gaming, which has been lobbying state officials to set up an online poker hub in the state.

    Ohio, New Jersey and Connecticut were other states that were looking into offering legalized Internet poker.

    Chris Costigan

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