Louisiana Legislator Begins Push for Online Gambling
The state of Louisiana certainly is no stranger to gambling, enjoying a reputation for offering a wide variety of land-based casino options – nearly two dozen when you count commercial casinos and their tribal counterparts – as well as a slew of other choices for bettors in the state, including a state lottery and regulated pari-mutuel wagering.
One form of wagering that does not currently exist in The Pelican State is legal online gambling, which is something that would change if State Representative Mike Huval has his way. Inspired by recent Internet wagering laws passes in Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada, Huval is taking the first steps toward online gambling in Louisiana. He has requested that his fellow legislators begin to look into the matter and release their findings prior to the commencement of the 2014 legislative session.
Remarking on the over $14 billion in gambling revenue the state has collected from its casino properties over the last twenty-three years, Huval said, “Louisiana has the potential to benefit economically by legalizing Internet gaming.”
Huval also spoke to the success his state has had in overseeing its land-based casino industry, positing that offering regulated online poker and other games in Louisiana, presumably operated by US-based companies, would ultimately offer greater consumer protections than are currently available with the somewhat patchy (and occasionally shady) network of offshore online gambling companies who offer US-facing sites.
As anticipated when federal online poker regulation failed to gain traction in Congress at the end of the last session, states across the nation are beginning to look at regulating online poker, and in some places, addtional forms of Internet wagering as well. Now that the three states mentioned above have moved forward with regulating some form of online gambling, there is an ever-growing list of other states looking to join them in order to reap the rewards of a new revenue stream.
One state that hasn’t attracted a lot of attention is Wisconsin, a state that we’ve assessed to be fairly low on the list of potential places where online gambling might become regulated. This is in large part because Wisconsin has several land-based tribal casinos, factions which have traditionally been opposed to Internet wagering as they fear it will cause them to suffer lost revenue.
Acknowledging the unlikelihood that online poker, or any other sort of Internet-based wagering, would be coming soon to the Badger State, Steve Verrett, who is the PPA‘s Wisconsin Director, urged players to join the PPA to help lobby for regulation at the federal level.
“State-by-state legislation in my opinion is not ideal,” Verrett said recently.
“It will create small pockets of tournaments and little competition as you will only be able to play within your state or compact of multiple states,” he added. “The best bet for Wisconsin and most other states outside of California, Nevada, and New Jersey is federal regulation. If federal regulation with an ‘opt out’ clause gets put into place as it has been discussed, I think Wisconsin is forward-thinking enough to be a part of that.”
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