Five States to Watch For Regulation in 2013

For poker players, 2012 ended with a whimper, not a bang. Those who expected to see some sort of federal regulation of online poker before year’s end were sorely disappointed. In fact, some would argue poker players in the U.S. ended the year worse off than they were when it began.

Will 2013 bring better luck for those who wanted to see regulated online poker in America? Possibly, but most agree that players should be keeping an eye on the states – not the federal government – for the biggest gains in the months ahead.

With that in mind, here’s our list of five states U.S. online poker players should keep an eye on in 2013.


California has been threatening to advance online poker legislation for several years now, but every attempt has broken down over an inability to get the major industry players to agree to even basic terms. While that will remain a challenge in 2013, it does appear as if consensus is more within reach now than in past years, helped along by external forces like competition, increased education and the ever-present need for revenue.


Illinois enjoyed a very brief flirtation with online poker last year. Will the issue come up again in 2013? On one hand, the state is already in the online gambling business via the lottery, so they are already closer than most states in that sense. On the other, land-based gambling expansion has been a tough sell in Illinois, and there might not be much enthusiasm for an online gambling push after what has been a long and bruising fight to bring more casinos to the state.

Ultimately, the state has a severe need for revenue that could overwhelm political squeamishness. With one toe already in the online gambling waters, Illinois seems a strong candidate to revisit the topic of online poker regulation in 2013.


Online gambling is a done deal in Delaware, at least in the legislative sense. The year ahead will be more about how Delaware rolls out online gambling products and – more critically – what approach the state takes to interstate partnerships for products like poker. Delaware previously indicated interest in interstate compacts, so it should be interesting to see what sort of pull their move into online gambling will exert on neighboring states.

New Jersey

New Jersey is a natural home for online gambling, and the state took major strides in the direction of offering state-backed online wagering during the waning days of 2012. The bill supporters moved through the State Assembly as 2012 drew to a close now sits on Governor Chris Christie’s desk, and insiders have indicated he’s more inclined to sign in than not.

While other states may see online gambling dramas play out over the course of the entire year, those watching New Jersey won’t have to wait long. Christie is compelled to make a decision by February 3rd.


Like California, Iowa has seen more than its fair share of online gambling proposals start and stall in the statehouse. But 2013 could be the year when online poker finally achieves serious traction as states across the nation ramp up their online gambling efforts, a trend that could put Iowa – a state that already manages the major interstate lottery compacts – at the center of an online gambling explosion in the United States.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on,, and

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