Thursday, May 10,2012 : SOUTHERN CONFERENCE DISCUSSES INTERNET GAMBLING
Much discussion on whether the feds or the states will regulate online gambling
Internet gambling was a main topic of discussion at yet another US conference this week when delegates gathered in Biloxi, Mississippi for the Southern Gaming Summit, reports WLOX.
Speakers identified internet gaming as the newest frontier for the casino industry in America, and raised the contentious issue of whether the federal government or state administrations should be deciding regulatory and tax policies.
Rep. Bobby Moak, the minority leader in the Mississippi House and a supporter of properly licensed and regulated online poker, said that the recent Department of Justice about-turn on the Wire Act's definition of what constitutes online gambling had stimulated renewed interest and discussion on internet gambling possibilities and raised the question of who should be in control.
Moak seemed to support federal regulation, saying: "See if Congress is going to go to the next level and either do it themselves or we're going to have a patchwork of states doing it by themselves."
His statement could be confusing, recalling that earlier this year Moak filed Mississippi House Bill 1373, which seeks to legalise and regulate online gambling, including poker, within state lines .
Later, Moak said: "In Mississippi, I think our attitude should be, let's protect the people that built this market, in this jurisdiction. And that is, allow those folks that have bricks and mortar that we're already regulating. Then, we can look at any internet issues they might have if they're going to get in that market."
Industry content provider IGT's Kevin Buntrock asked: "Are we dealing with internet poker on a state by state basis? Are we dealing with internet poker on a national basis? Are we dealing with virtual casinos? Are we dealing with social gaming? I think these are all issues yet to be determined."
"Just as casino gambling started in New Jersey 35 years ago and we looked at everything with very tight regulation, we have to do the same thing in this new Internet area," said David Rebuck, who is director of gaming enforcement in New Jersey, one of the leaders in attempts to develop regulated online gambling on an intrastate basis.
The conference again showed that although regulating internet gambling may still be a question under debate, there's no doubt the casino industry is preparing.
"Boyd Gaming has partnered recently with one of the largest online gaming operators in Europe," said Jack Bermeiser, the general manager of IP Casino in Biloxi in referring to the deal between MGM Resorts, Boyd Gaming and Bwin.Party. "So, we are poised to be in the game, whenever that may happen."
Many delegates acknowledged that Nevada is the state most progressive in moving forward with Internet poker regulations, already accepting licence applications from i-gaming operators.