Iowa Leads Race to Regulate Internet Gambling in US

As New Jersey awaits November referendum, online poker legislation in Iowa moves to Full Senate after Committee approval

4 March 2011 (London, England) – The United States has a new leader in the race to become the first state to implement regulated iGaming as the Iowa State Senate Government Committee approved a new online poker bill by nine votes to six.

Yesterday’s vote now means that the Bill advances to full Senate from where it will need approval from the Iowa House before entering into law. The significance of yesterday’s vote in Iowa has increased with the breaking news that New Jersey will now await a referendum in November after Governor Chris Christie surprisingly vetoed a Bill to modernize the State’s gambling regulation. New Jersey has long been acknowledged as the State best equipped to pioneer a regulated iGaming industry in the US, with its proximity to New York and the financial markets and a technological infrastructure that would position it as the “Silicon Valley” of online gambling.

However, Iowa could now steal a march on New Jersey’s ability to gain ‘first mover advantage’ by becoming the first US State to regulate Intra-State online gambling activity should the ‘Senate File 1165’ online poker Bill pass both Senate and House approval.

According to a report in the Des Moines Register, an approximate 150,000 Iowans are playing online poker illegally, accounting for upwards of $30 million in potential taxes that the state is currently forfeiting. Iowa has been seen as the second most-likely state to advance its online gambling regulations after New Jersey, with California and Florida still a long way off formulating realistic support and regulation. However, it now appears in pole position to lead the US into a new dawn of iGaming regulation.


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The Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association was founded to foster cooperation between the online gaming industry and government at all levels, and to promote innovation, openness and freedom on the Internet. iMEGA is a professional association dedicated to the continued growth and innovation of the Internet. We seek constructive engagement with government at the Federal and State levels to ensure that the challenges of this still nascent medium are addressed with the full participation of the people and companies that have built the Internet into the powerful influence on society it has become.