December 27, 2012 : IOWA GAMBLING EXECS MAINTAIN MOMENTUM ON INTERNET POKER
All we need is the approval of legislators….
Jeff Lamberti, the articulate chairman of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, and Iowa Gaming Association executive director, Wes Ehrecke maintained momentum on the possibility of Iowa joining the move to regulate online gambling this week
The program will air on December 28, according to local media reports.
Earlier this month Lamberti said that his Commission was ready and able to regulate intrastate online poker and needed only a green light from state legislators, who have discussed legalization but not yet passed a law on the issue.
The Commission already regulates land casino activity in Iowa and Iowa Gaming Association executive director, Wes Ehrecke, says his organisation has given thought to how a legalised online poker system could work.
“We’d like to have it offered through the website portals of the land casinos on a platform regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission so you’re assured that when you play that we can keep the minors out,” Ehrecke said, pointing out that there is now advanced technology that will enable operators to keep minors out and flag out-of-state attempts to use the intrastate system.
Ehrecke says there are some 150,000 Iowans who now play online poker on sites hosted outside the state, and in most cases outside the USA.
Lamberti says the internet is the next major development in the gambling industry.
"We’ve seen some states approve it and are moving in that direction. Actually our administrator is very knowledgeable and did a paper regarding internet poker specifically,” he says.
However, the Iowa Legislature has not yet approved internet poker, and although the Commission is confident in its ability to regulate the business, it must await the approval of state politicians.
“If the legislature tells us that they’re going to authorize that and we need to move forward, we want to do like we do with our current facilities, [and that] is to have a high level of integrity, regulate it so the people who engage in that can trust the product,” said Lamberti.
Lamberti was asked if the regulation of online poker would require more employees.
“I don’t think we know exactly what the model is exactly going to look like – is it going to be a centralized model, is it going to be in several casinos? Until we know the model, I don’t think we know the answer to that,” the Commission's chairman said.