When we think about US states that might be likely to regulate some form on online gambling, areas like California, Pennsylvania and New York come first to mind. But according to a statewide newspaper publication, regulation of online gambling in Iowa should be a top priority.
An op-ed appeared in the Iowa State Daily newspaper yesterday morning, calling for state officials to “Legalize online gambling in Iowa”. The ISD editorial opened by reaching out to all of its readers who already enjoy gambling, starting out with the criminal nature of fantasy sports pools in Iowa.
There are currently just 5 states with textual legislation outlawing fantasy sports pools, and Iowa is among them – Arizona, Louisiana, Montana and Washington being the others. According to IDS, “thousands, if not millions, are transacted each year among friends trying to out-gamble the others” in fantasy sports pools. And presently, both Iowa and Washington are circulating bills to “overturn the illegal fantasy gambling laws”.
The op-ed states that many lawmakers are against fantasy sports, “and online gambling in general”, because they fear an increase in gambling addiction. “However, that argument is not valid in the sense that it already happens and is poorly enforced,” reads the editorial.
The fact is, and it’s been statistically proven time and again, that online gambling is occurring in all over the US, whether it’s legally permitted or not. Due to the quick nature of online DFS, the newspaper said that even sites like DraftKings and FanDuel would be hard pressed to prevent players from Iowa and those other four states from participating, simply by entering a false, out-of-state address.
Instead, IDS declared that it’s time to regulate online gambling in Iowa in order to better protect their citizens. Regulations can enforce strict age verification and geo-location technology, while tracking spending limits to help prevent problem gambling.
“It’s time to move forward with our progressive technology and means of online entertainment,” the staff wrote. “Maybe we don’t have time, or money, to fly out to Las Vegas, put $100 down on a game, lose and fly back. But we’ve got ample time to sit at home, do some online work and, oh yes, attempt to bank another $200.”
IDS called concerns of problem gambling an “insufficient” argument in the continuance of prohibiting online gambling in the state. “If public well-being is the most prominent concern and reasoning for keeping the gambling sites illegal,” the editorial said, “then substances such as alcohol, nicotine or maybe even caffeine would be illegal as well.
“The issue comes down to the fact that consenting adults should be able to do with their money as they choose and if the gambling sites and establishments are not predatory in their methods, then the state government should not move to ban them wholesale.”
Iowa lawmakers have toyed with the idea of regulating online gambling in previous years, but there was never enough support to get a bill through the process of legislation.
According to a report from state gaming regulators in 2011, residents of Iowa were already contributing somewhere between $13 and $60 million to offshore online poker operators alone. By those estimates, if previously proposed online gambling regulations were to be enacted, imposing a 22% tax rate, it could generate $3-$13 million into Iowa’s tax coffers annually.