The end of the lame duck Congressional session came and went with no official advancement into regulating online gambling but it did do a couple positive things. First it did show that at least some people in Washington are listening (though probably not enough to see a change anytime soon) and second, it put the issue of online gambling in the laps of the state governments.
California is working again on getting an online poker bill through its legislation this year, New Jersey has gotten 2/3 of the way in passing its version of an online poker regulation, Florida is rumbling about possible gambling legislation and now Texas is facing a fiscal crunch and of course gambling has come up as a fix.
Right now Texas allows (outside tribal casinos) bingo, pull tab, card rooms, raffles, horse racing and the lottery but all these are taxed by county and municipalities, not helping the state at all. Over the last 10+ years, there has been two times that a non-tribal gambling expansion has been voted down and it seems to come up every time the state facing a budget crunch.
Anthony Anton, president and CEO of the Washington Restaurant Association, “More and more people can go online to gamble but you can’t do it at a restaurant where it could be taxed. More and more people are asking, ‘so exactly why is it illegal?’”
So far there is no proposal or organized effort to expand the gaming effort in Texas to include online gambling but the talk has started. Maybe this will be the force that finally moves the federal government into action. As more and more U.S. states start working on proposals to regulate online gambling within its borders, it may force the Federal gov’t to act to get its piece of the pie as well.
With all the money that was spent by land based casino lobbyist to get a federal deal done this year, could a Nevada online gambling bill be far behind. Maybe now the question becomes how many states will it take to regulate online gambling before the Federal government takes another look?