Sunday February 3,2013 : IOWA LAWMAKERS HEAR PRESENTATION ON INTERNET GAMBLING
But lottery chief warns of possible federal competition
Lawmakers in the Iowa Legislature’s House-Senate Government Oversight Appropriations Subcommittee were briefed on internet gambling possibilities last week by state lottery chief Terry Rich.
In his presentation, Rich opined that the state is already empowered to expand into online gambling and that further enabling legalization is not required.
He warned that the so far unsuccessful attempt to legalise online poker at the federal level could represent a competitive threat in the future if reintroduced, and that if such a bill passed, it would favour the state of Nevada and its major casino companies.
It would additionally raise serious issues around states' rights, the lottery chief opined.
“The Legislature should decide what gaming goes on in Iowa, not the federal government,” Rich said. “We want the decision made by this body.”
Rich said local research studies indicate that more than 150,000 Iowans already are playing online poker and spending somewhere upwards of $40 million a year on sports betting and online gambling.
Rich noted that over the past five years, some Iowans who received help for problem gambling identified sports betting and online gambling – both illegal in Iowa – as their primary forms of wagering.
In a 2011 report prepared for the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, the state’s take from legalised online gambling – based on Iowa’s 22 percent casino tax — could run from $13 million to $60 million annually, the local media reported.