“I don’t see this as an expansion of gambling, I see this as an expansion of freedom.” That was the statement issued by Senator Rick Bertrand R-Sioux City after legislation in Iowa to bring online poker under state regulation passed with ease in a Senate committee.
The final vote was 11-4 to allow for the state Racing and Gaming Commission to being together and regulate competing hub operators and partner them with state licensed casinos to provide Iowan’s access to online poker. Out of state players would be able to come to a Iowa casino, establish an account and play only while they were staying at the casino.
According to Senator Bill Dix, R-Shell Shock, “We have a situation in Iowa where Iowa citizens are not being protected. This will do that.” No one spoke out against the bill during the vote but 3 Republicans and 1 Democrat voted against it citing how this is combining a highly addictive form of gambling with an extreme ease of access to Iowans.
Though it breeze through the Senate committee hearing, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs gives online poke only a 50-50 chance of getting through the full Senate. The passing in the committee however, did mean this bill is still alive for more legislative work. Friday was like a cleaning day for the Senate and where deals that did not make it through a committee vote are lost till next year.