ANOTHER IOWA LEADER DEFENDS STATES&#039; RIGHTS ON INTERNET GAMBLING
02nd January, 2013 at 00:48:16
Lottery chief was among those protesting federal legalisation of online poker
The chief of the Iowa Lottery has joined other state leaders in taking a stand against the imposition of federally legalised online poker, reporting on a protest visit to Washington DC with other lottery heads to the Iowa Legislature's Government Oversight Committee.
Iowa lottery CEO Terry Rich recently travelled to Washington D.C. to lobby on the issue with contempories from the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries (see previous reports). At that point the now abandoned federal Reid-Kyl bill was being promoted by a bi-partisan group of Congressmen and women keen to see online poker legalised, but other forms of online gambling banned in the United States.
"The lotteries emphasized that the federal government should not infringe on states' rights to implement and to regulate Internet gaming within their own borders," Rich reported to the Committee.
"Lottery staff also stressed that individual states are best equipped to respond to their citizens' unique local preferences and decide what, if any, intrastate gaming should occur within their jurisdictions," he added.
Rich noted that Illinois and Georgia already sell lottery tickets online and that Delaware has authorized its state lottery to offer online gambling.
The Iowa Senate last session approved a bill to permit intrastate Internet poker, although it failed to pass in the House (see previous reports). The bill's supporters contended the legislation would help prevent as much as $30 million a year flowing from Iowa to overseas operators.
Rich also revealed that he had sent a letter to Senator Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner, and other congressional leaders in November in which he expressed his concerns about federal Internet gambling legislation circumventing state laws.
States would be prohibited from choosing which games to offer on the Internet, and the tax structure would override state tax rates, he complained.
"The Iowa Lottery has raised more than $1.4 billion for vital causes, including economic development, education and support for Iowa veterans and their families. Across the nation, in 2011 alone, lotteries provided $25 billion in net profits to local causes. In short, state lotteries are funding important missions," Rich said in the letter to federal lawmakers.
He added, "Congress should not enact legislation that supersedes state authority and that selects winners and losers."
Last week the head of Iowa's Racing and Gaming Commission, Jeff Lamberti, and Iowa Gaming Association president Wes Ehrecke jointly spoke out for states' rights on gambling, and supported the idea of legalised online gambling in Iowa.
Lamberti said that Internet gambling is the future of the industry and the state would be prepared to regulate it if the Legislature approved.
That's really where the next step in gaming is moving," said Lamberti. "We've seen some states approve it and are moving in that direction.
Lamberti emphasised that any online gambling would have to be strictly regulated to the state's high standards of integrity and trust.
Ehrecke, who represents state-regulated casinos, agreed, and said that Iowa casinos would like to offer online table games such as poker or blackjack. He cited an estimate that 150,000 Iowans already gamble online through sites located outside the United States.
Related News Tags: Lotteries, USA