The New State of the Nation: More States Prepare for Online Gambling

Posted on: March 4, 2013, 04:55h. 

Last updated on: March 6, 2013, 11:12h.

It’s like when they gave women the vote or got rid of segregation: ideas that once seemed way out of most peoples’ grasp eventually filter down and start to enter the collective conscious as a norm. Online gambling seems to be right at the brink of acceptance; following recent fast-track legislative measures to approve online gambling in Nevada and New Jersey, a few other states (and not all the ones you might suspect) are now taking a closer look at what is obviously poised to be the next big cash cow for state coffers, right up there with lotteries.

West Virginia Mines for Gold

Looking to get on board the gambling train soon, it appears, is the somehow unlikely state of West Virginia; lottery director John Musgrove said this week in response to swift and recent passage of legislation in Nevada and New Jersey that gambling is clearly “the way of the future” and that his state’s elected officials “need to discuss it.”  It shouldn’t be a huge hurdle for the state best known for coal mining to clear; they already have a racetrack video lottery and table games. Musgrove admitted his state is a “little behind right now” when it comes to hustling up some online gambling measures of their own, noting, “There’s really going to be a shift in the way that we do business, and we’ve got to participate in that.”

Iowa is On the Fence

Another state that may not immediately jump to mind as being on the forefront of the online gambling revolution is Iowa, but who would have thought they’d have a great creative writing program at Iowa State either? So there you go: looks can be deceiving. Actually, Iowa can’t quite decide what it wants to do with online gambling as of yet. State Sen. Jeff Danielson has thrown a few measures out to his state’s pols, but nothing has been unilaterally received as yet.  His most recent foray was Senate Study Bill 1068; that one has passed the Senate subcommittee just this week, and will now proceed for perusal by the State Government Committee to see if it moves forward.

Don’t hold your breath, though; the general view is that the Senate may clear the bill only to see the House defeat it. That, based on State Government Committee chairman Guy Vander Linden’s rather terse statement that he’s willing to take a look at the bill, but “it might be a short look.” Apparently he’s just representing his constituents; a Des Moines Register poll showed 73% (of a fairly small sampling of 802 adults) of Iowans opposed to legal online gambling.

California Can’t Stop Fighting

Coming back to a state that has certainly embraced land casinos in a big way, particularly where poker is concerned, the infighting continues over whether to bring it online or not. State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg says he is growing weary of managing infighting between Indian tribes, card rooms and horseracing tracks, all of whom want  to have it their way. “There needs to be a willingness among the stakeholders [gambling interests] to come together and decide if they want this in California or not,” he said recently.

New cultural mores don’t come to fruition all that easily, do they?