The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) has voted to adopt a policy framework that was first published last November.
The NCLGS, which is made up of legislators from many states that have active gambling industries, has been working on the policy framework since 2013.
Known as the Policy Framework for the Regulation of Internet Gaming, the NCLGS policy statement was designed to give states some guidance in how to enact Internet gambling legislation if they choose to do so.
After the most recent amendments to the framework, it was made clear that the NCLGS was not making a statement for or against online gambling, but rather providing a basic framework that legislators could work from when developing their own Internet gambling legislation.
“Thanks to the input of a myriad of interested parties, the Framework is balanced and informed and, I’m proud to say, is a hallmark of NCLGS efforts to date,” said State Representative Helene Keeley, (D-Delaware), president of the NCLGS. “It’s time for states that are inclined to welcome Internet gambling to take an in-depth look at what the Framework has to offer.”
Framework Highlights Ten Areas of Focus
The primary focus of the framework was to address the most important areas that governments should regulate when legalizing online gambling.
In particular, ten issues were highlighted, ranging from taxation and licensing to payment processing, verifying player identities (including age and location), how to craft multi-jurisdictional agreements, and what games can be offered.
While the framework isn’t legislation on its own, it can be used as a bare-bones structure on which a law can be built.
The existence of the framework could ultimately prove valuable in future efforts to regulate online gambling, and not just because it offers a starting point.
Simply having an NCLGS framework to work from should provide legislators with interest in the issue some credibility, as it shows that serious thought and input has gone into the issue from a variety of parties.
It could also help ensure that states are working from the same basic playbook on the issue, increasing the chances that state laws will be compatible with each other in the future.
While the framework is very similar to the one released in November after a second round of commenting (albeit with some amendments, including stronger protection for player funds), it could not be considered an official NCLGS policy framework until this month’s vote.
Commentators who had influence on the framework include the Alderney Gambling Control Commission and the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries.
More States Considering Online Gambling in 2015
The NCLGS framework comes at a time when an increasing number of states are considering online gambling legislation.
In California, legislators are once again giving Internet poker a look, with Assemblyman Mike Gatto having already introduced a bill in the current session, albeit one with some controversial clauses.
In other states, online gambling efforts are facing longer odds.
In Washington, efforts are underway to decriminalize online gambling and perhaps even regulate online poker, though the bill leaves most of the actual regulations to the state gaming commission.
Meanwhile, Representative Bobby Moak (D-53rd District) has introduced yet another Internet gambling bill in Mississippi, though the prospects for the law seem little better than in previous years.