02/22/2012 : House approves, now it's off to the state Senate
Utah Representative Stephen Sandstrom's bill HB108, which seeks to maintain a total ban on internet gambling in the state, even if there is federal legalization, was progressed to the Senate Tuesday on a House vote of 61 – 9.
Introduced by the Republican politician earlier this year, the bill initially appeared destined for the back burner but sailed through the House despite assurances by federal politicians that any nationwide legalization measures would include a state opt-out clause.
Sandstrom, who is running for U.S. Congress, in part used the threat of a federal legalization to justify his measure, pointing out that any federal opt-out clause would have to be actioned by Utah within 60 days of the federal enactment. His bill would safeguard Utah against online gambling in any case, he argued.
“Utah is unique, and one of the reasons we are unique is we do not have any forms of gambling that are legal,” Sandstrom asserted said, noting that gambling is banned by the state constitution.
Sandstrom's bill requires the governor of Utah to notify Washington DC that, should a new federal law pass allowing states to permit online gaming, Utah will not participate and exercises its rights as a state to opt out.