Online Poker May Soon Be Legal in Iowa

Internet poker is almost in casinos and racetracks in Iowa.

A measure, which passed 29 to 20 in the Iowa senate, allows casinos and racetracks to offer their customers internet poker as a gambling option when visiting their establishment. The measure moves on from the Senate to the House, where if approved will make Iowa one of the first to approve online poker legislation.

“I don’t see this as an expansion of gambling, I see this as an expansion of freedom,” says Senator Rick Bertrand, a Republican from Sioux City.

The legalization of online poker could mean big things for the state of Iowa. While the move is certainly a good one for online poker players that want somewhere to play, it could also mean big money for the state when it comes to taxes. Projections from analysts suggest that legalizing online poker in the state could generate somewhere between $3 and $13 million in additional tax revenue. That’s a ton of money for the state that could go towards everything from road improvements to education. Legalizing online poker could, in fact, have an exceptionally positive effect for the community as a whole, even those who aren’t poker players themselves and never visit a casino or racetrack personally.

The online poker industry would be regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, the same commission that currently monitors and regulates gambling activities in the state. That means that there will likely be a number of rules in place should the measure pass, and the Commission will keep a close eye on how online poker is deployed and run in the state.

Despite all the positives, right now it seems like Iowa residents aren’t yet in full support of the measure. A poll by the Des Moines Register found that the majority of residents opposed the legalization of online poker in the state. That poll found that specifically, 69% of residents were against the measure. 28% of respondents were for the approval.

While those poll numbers might seem like a potential setback, it’s important to note that they’re actually an improvement over the previous year. Previously 73% of respondents were against the measure.