The Latest U.S. Online Poker Legislation News

All hope of the United States passing blanket federal legislation for online gaming in any form may be lost this year, but there’s still hope on the state level. If you happen to be one of those poker fans that is holding out hope of just that, then today brought both good and bad news. The good news came from Iowa of all places, and the bad news meandered in from New Jersey yesterday.

So the bad news first. February 24 marked the final day for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to pass or veto the proposed intrastate online gambling bill. Had Christie decided he was up in the air, he could have simply ignored the bill and it would have passed into law automatically. Instead, his offices extended the deadline to March 3.

While it’s good to know that Christie is at the very least undecided, the fact that he didn’t just allow the bill to pass – let alone back it – seems ominous. Supposedly the extension was merely due to the fact that the legislature is on hiatus, but Christie was aware of the scheduled recess long before the bill hit its original deadline.

In more promising online poker legislation news, the Iowa legislature has moved ahead with their plans to legalize online gambling by creating a new draft of the attached bill. Similar to the New Jersey bill, the Iowa bill would only allow online poker to be offered through the state’s existing gambling establishments. Furthermore, to keep people coming to the casinos and racetracks themselves, the bill requires potential poker players to deposit funds to their online accounts at brick-and-mortar businesses first. While politicians have been reluctant to take a clear stance on the bill, the general public remains overwhelming positive about bringing online gambling to Iowa.

In related news, both California and Florida’s legislatures continue to consider their own online gambling bills. Poker pro and California native Greg Raymer was quick to chime in on his own feelings about California’s approach to online poker, and he was surprisingly unbiased in his evaluation of the current proposals.

Meanwhile, the Poker Players Alliance has remained surprisingly mum about the developments in all four of the above states, though they did issue a formal congratulations to the state of South Carolina for their recent decision to rescind legislation that outlawed home poker games. While it’s a far cry from legalizing online poker, at least it’s an important step in the right direction.

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