Another state has emerged as a candidate to regulate online poker and gambling, as Colorado lawmakers are said to be considering legislation.
Gaming industry officials and state lawmakers drafted a proposal to permit online poker during the last session. Although that effort failed to advance, another attempt may be pursued next year.
The issue continues to be explored, according to Lois Rice, the Colorado Gaming Association’s executive director.
Colorado officials are watching with keen interest the progress of the online gambling regimes of Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey. Nevada’s poker-only scheme has seen only two sites get up and running so far and both average only around 100 cash game players daily.
New Jersey’s igaming rollout is less than a month old, but includes online casino games in addition to poker. Colorado, and a number of other states for that matter, are
monitoring very closely the online action on the Eastern seaboard, said Troy Stremming, the executive VP of government relations for Pinnacle Entertainment, parent company of Ameristar Black Hawk Casino.
Black Hawk is especially interested in how Internet gambling will effect revenue of land-based gambling operations. New Jersey’s results are a bit too new to properly gauge whether the dozen Atlantic City casinos will see a drop in attendance and revenue.
A statewide poll taken during the summer asked Colorado residents how they felt about online gambling legislation. The results were not particularly good for pro-Internet gaming forces, the Denver post reported.
But that may change as more states jump on the online gambling bandwagon in 2014, as is expected. California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Mississippi are all believed to be seriously considering such legislation. Industry observers have predicted a domino effect to occur on the state level in the absence of federal legislation.
Colorado has a population of over 5 million, which falls in-between the 2.7 million in Nevada and the more than nine million residents who call New Jersey home. It is the 22nd most populous state in the nation.
Recent estimates conducted by Eilers Research indicate that in 3-5 years, Internet poker may generate anywhere from $30 million to $37 million in revenue annually in Colorado. Adding online casino games to the equation, that amount could jump to as high as $110 million.
Those numbers are hard to ignore despite the study that showed that Colorado residents lack enthusiasm when it comes to wagering online. It certainly has caught the attention of Rep. Kevin Priola (R-Adams County), who believes that the Rocky Mountain State should be
close to the starting line with legislation drafted and ready to go when other states begin joining Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey.
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