Initiatives from Pennsylvania, Iowa and Hawaii

2 March 2013 – By Jane Spiegel

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Online gambling is one of the fastest growing businesses in the world. People from different corners of the globe can play their favorite online casino style games from the comfort of their own homes, any time they want, for as long as they like. United States is one of the biggest markets in the world, and for some time lawmakers in some states has been trying to legalize online gambling. For example, in Pennsylvania, legislators are in the process of launching an online gambling legalization bill. Initially, the licensing fee was set at $16.5 million and the tax rate at an exorbitant 45%. But, after some last minute rethinking, the fee was cut down to $10 million and the tax rate at 20%. Despite these modifications, the law is unlikely to pass because Pennsylvania has a flourishing land gambling business, which is second only to Nevada. The House Gaming Oversight Committee has to approve this bill but the Republicans control this institution and they are against online casino gambling.

In the state of Iowa, online gambling is also encountering problems. Senator Jeff Danielson’s bill suffered its third successive defeat. The bill died in the Senate State Government Committee because the legislators preferred to debate better supported or more urgent legislations and had no time for the one concerning online casinos. The state’s 18 commercial casinos, which are represented by the Iowa Gaming Association, supported the bill due to the fact that many Iowans already gambled at offshore online casinos. In this state too, the republicans are lukewarm on the proposal and a recent Iowa poll which reported that 73% of respondents opposed online gambling has made them even more reluctant.

The process of legalizing online gambling in the state of Hawaii is not going well. In January this year, the legislator launched a new initiative but online casino market analysts believe the measure has made little progress and is likely to fail. According to poker publication Card Player, a public hearing for the legislation was to be held last month, but it was removed from the schedule. The state of Hawaii has not legalized gambling of any kind till present day.

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