01/12/2012 : Lottery director says political decisiveness is important
Dennis Wilson, the executive director of the Kansas state lottery, is among the latest executives to recognise the importance of the Department of Justice's change of posture on internet gambling and the Wire Act.
On Wednesday Wilson advised state political leaders that it was a matter of urgency that they decide whether to allow intrastate online poker games or internet lottery ticket sales in the state, reports the Capital-Journal newspaper.
Wilson urged the 2012 Legislature and Governor Sam Brownback to authorise the exploration of options in anticipation of numerous states expanding their respective gaming industries, introducing new levels of competition and opportunity.
"We have a decision to make," he told a state Senate committee. "We're going to have to deal with this soon. This can get real wild."
Wilson went on to explain that the state could jump in with both feet by allowing virtual lottery or poker gaming, but he cautioned that sports book betting would remain off limits.
Giving options, he said that Kansas could choose to remain on the sidelines and follow an isolationist policy that would prevent expansion despite reform in other state. He added that the future of 850 state lottery ticket retailers now selling over-the-counter lottery tickets in Kansas should be an important element in the discussion.
Wilson's request for urgent action was challenged by Republican Sen. Pete Brungardt, chairman of the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee, who said Congress could adopt a law counter to the Justice Department's declaration and end debate in individual states.
"My initial reaction is, there's no hurry," he said.
Regulators in Nevada, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, California, Iowa, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia are working on proposals to exploit the new ruling.
In related news, Ohio has become the latest state interested in exploring the opportunities afforded by the DoJ turnabout.
According to the Cincinnati Business Courier newspaper, the Ohio Lottery Commission is taking a proactive stance, with interim director Dennis Berg commenting:
“We’re exploring this topic. We want to be in the forefront of being able to generate revenue for the lottery. But it’s a policy decision that we will not make on our own.”
Berg stressed that any involvement in the Internet gaming sector would only be made after consultation with the state's lawmakers and administration.