02/08/2012 : UTAH BAN ON INTERNET GAMBLING A NON-STARTER
Sandstrom banning measure HB108 shelved…for now.
An intrastate attempt by Utah politician Stephen Sandstrom to introduce state legalization banning any legalization of internet gambling has failed at the start gate.
Introduced earlier this week, the bill has been shelved by the state House Law Enforcement Committee to allow for its fiscal impact to be determined and to get a full understanding of how such a prohibitionary bill might impact the state Internet service provider industry.
Sandstrom fought hard for the bill, which included provisions requiring Internet service providers in Utah to block online gambling websites, arguing that the benefits of a ban outweighed any costs it may impose.
"There is a lot more at risk to the state than the potential cost," Sandstrom told the committee. "To me I think it really, quite frankly, doesn't matter, 'cause it will cost the state tens of millions of dollars if they do not go with this."
Whilst several members of the committee were sympathetic to the motivation for the bill, there were concerns that a full study of all its implications is necessary before the measure can progress any further.
Sandstrom's main fear appears to be of a federal legalization of online gambling, which he worries may trigger the appearance of Indian casinos in Utah, despite the assurance of pro-online gambling politicians that any federal legalization would include an opt-out facility for individual states.
Undeterred, Sandstrom indicated that he would try to resubmit the measure as soon as possible.