In a letter written to Congressional leaders, Utah Governor Gary Herbert has urged federal lawmakers not to pass legislation approving online gambling on a nationwide level.
Herbert, who just a couple of weeks ago signed legislation prohibiting Internet gambling in his state of Utah that also allows the state to voluntarily opt out of online gambling regulations that may be enacted on a federal level, addressed his missive to Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on April 4. Herbert wrote that online gambling is best-suited as being “regulated by states for the benefit of their residents.” He also cited the U.S. Department of Justice opinion released in December which ruled that the 1961 Wire Act applies only to wagering on sports “clarifies and reaffirms that this is a matter of state authority.”
Although Sen. Reid (D-Nevada) was rumored to be considering attaching an Internet poker bill to a proposed cyber security bill, most industry observers feel that any possible federal online gambling legislation is far off in the future, especially since this is an election year.
It looks as though online gambling regulations by individual states will happen, with Nevada currently in the lead to be first to offer intrastate poker. Silver State lawmakers approved legislation in December and Nevada gaming officials are preparing to grant licensing to select applicants as early as this summer. A projection of sometime this fall has been set for the first legalized U.S. poker sites to be up and running.
Delaware, California and New Jersey also have online gambling bills pending before their respective state legislatures. California’s proposal is being re-written to satisfy the state’s cardrooms and Indian tribes. New Jersey’s bill gained approval from a Senate committee and will be voted on by the entire Senate and General Assembly. Delaware lawmakers have just recently introduced the Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012.