No Legal Online Poker in Iowa Until 2015

Posted on January 14th, 2014 by Todd Wilkins

No Legal Online Poker in Iowa Until 2015Iowa Gaming Association head announces that the state will not work up an iGaming bill in 2014, no online poker regulation in Iowa until 2015.

As it turns out, Iowa will not be pursuing an online gaming legislation bill this year after all. According to Wes Ehrecke, the CEO and President of the Iowa Gaming Association, Iowa state officials will keep a close eye on states where online gambling is already regulated, and reexamine the issue in 2015.

Iowa joins at least half-a-dozen states that are taking a cautious wait and see approach to iGaming legislation. The relatively new regulated Internet poker industry went live in Nevada last April, followed by a full casino and poker roll-out in New Jersey last November. Delaware has also launched an iGaming operation.

It appears that New Jersey will act as a guinea pig for other states currently on the iGaming fence. Early revenue reports, the emergence of unforeseen issues and market viability will ultimately determine how these states will move forward. Most will wait until a clearer picture of what works and what doesn’t emerges before penning bills of their own.

Long-term, Iowa is likely to pass iGaming legislation. As one of only a handful of states that permits all forms of gambling (online excluded), Iowa has exhibited a history of proactivity in regards to gambling related activities.

However, several prior attempts to pass an iGaming legislation bill in Iowa have fallen on deaf ears. As early as 2012, a bill approved by the State Senate failed to meet House expectations. And in March of last year, a bill proposed by State Senator Jeff Danielson failed to clear the Senate subcommittee. The 2013 bill ultimately proved too similar to its failed 2012 counterpart.

Among the multiple issues holding back the bill are revenue disputes, with some parties believing that Iowa would only generate between $3 and $13 million in tax revenue per year – a far cry from the original projection of $30-$35 million. The original figures assume that 150,000 Iowa resident would partake in online poker; an unlikely sum given Iowa’s small population of 3.1 million.

In more hopeful news, it appears that Pennsylvania and California will strongly consider iGaming legislation this year. Illinois, Florida and New York could also figure into the mix by 2014’s end. All five states feature a significantly larger population than New Jersey, with California boasting upwards of 38 million residents.

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