US Online Gambling Update: California and Iowa Legislation

Published February 4, 2015 by Elana K

US Online Gambling Update: California and Iowa Legislation

California pushes ahead bills that would allow for online gambling regulation; Iowa seeks to legalize fantasy sports betting.

It seems as though 2015 will see another U.S. state legalize online poker, and that state is California. Two bills were introduced early this session in favor of regulating the online gambling industry; the only question that remains is who should control the regulation. It is, after all, quite a profitable business.

Online Poker in California?

Card clubs, Indian tribes, race tracks and out-of-state gaming companies are all candidates for setting out California’s regulations, but as of now, none of the groups have managed to come to any sort of agreement. The conflict of interests has been playing out for almost ten years, and during this time California residents have had to find their own sources of online poker: namely, illegal operators. Proponents of passing through legislation for online gambling have argued that during this time, California has lost out on millions of potential tax dollars from this unregulated industry.

Iowa: Fantasy Sports Winnings No Longer a Fantasy

While California is pushing for online gambling legislation, Iowa is pushing for another type of legalized gambling: fantasy sports. As of now, Iowa is one of the only states in America where fantasy sports games are illegal. What this means practically is that while residents of Iowa can actually play and bet on fantasy sports, they cannot collect the cash or prizes if they win.

Jeff Danielson, chairman of the Senate State Government Committee, said he wants to change Iowa law to allow sports games before a potential blowout, which could occur if a player hits a major prize but is then prohibited from collecting his winnings.

It is estimated that at least 350,000 Iowans engage in fantasy sports, and Danielson says that he wants to be “proactive” to enable these people to collect their winnings - and he wants to do so before an uncomfortable situation actually occurs.

Towards this end, two bills have been introduced this session, both of which would make it legal for Iowans to collect cash and prizes from fantasy sports betting.

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