Poker Legal Landscape Updates
Poker seems to be in constant flux with regards to its legal status in jurisdictions around the world. Let's take a peek at the latest developments in various efforts to regulate online poker:
Spain Goes Live on Tuesday
An era of legal online gaming is set to begin in Spain on June 5th. The nation recently awarded licenses to service its newly regulated market to many top companies including Party Poker, , and 888 Poker.
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Not all of these companies received a Spanish gaming license for cheap. Recently, Spain hit several major online gaming operators with massive back-tax bills on profits made in the country's unregulated market. Bwin.Party alone coughed up €33 million in taxes to clear the way for receiving a gaming license. 888 Holdings agreed to a €7.4 million settlement.
Unfortunately for online poker players around the world anticipating floodgates of Spanish fish opening, the country's law requires that online poker games take place on a segregated network. However, it seems unclear at the present time if non-Spanish residents are prohibited from accessing this network.
Eleventh Hour Effort to Legalize Online Poker Fails in Illinois
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton made a late push to legalize some forms of online gaming before the state's legislative bodies adjourned on May 31st. Cullerton added an amendment to House Bill 4148 that would have created a Division of Internet Gaming which would have ultimately allowed adults in the state of 13 million people to gamble online.
Cullerton's push to legalize online gaming in Illinois failed this time around by default when the state's legislative bodies adjourned last week. The unexpected piece of legislation in Illinois is a reminder of the unpredictable nature of poker's fight for legal status. While Cullerton's chances of legalizing online poker in the fifth most populous state in the U.S. in a matter of just two weeks were pretty slim from the onset, it was a nice thing to see regardless.
New Jersey Takes Bold Stance on Sports-Betting
Just one year after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed a bill to legalize online poker out of concern for what the federal government would think, he has now taken a brazen stance regarding an even more controversial topic, sports-betting.
"We intend to go forward and allow sports betting to happen," Governor Christie said. "If someone wants to stop us, then let them try to stop us."
New Jersey remains in the race to be the first state to offer legal online poker. Governor Christie's new-found pair of shiny brass balls suggests that if the state's legislative bodies pass another online poker bill, he won't veto it this time around. Legal online poker could be up and running in the Garden State this year.
German State Schleswig-Holstein Grants Gaming Licenses
Schleswig-Holstein, Germany's northernmost state, has now issued gaming licenses to seven operators. Among the firms to receive gaming licenses recently were Party Poker and Betfair Poker.
The state has remained ahead of the curve in Germany as the federal government there seeks to preserve its own gaming monopolies. In creating their own gaming regulations, they rebelled against the German government who has been one of the last holdouts in the European Union for creating a regulated online gaming platform.
Colorado Casinos Pushing Online Poker Bill
A gaming association that represents casinos in Colorado has drafted a bill that would legalize online poker in the state. Lois Rice, executive director of the Colorado Gaming Association, indicated that online poker will be an issue on the state's legislative agenda next year.
The bill is said to be similar in nature to the one currently fighting its way through the New Jersey legislature. This could mean that the Colorado bill would permit out-of-state residents to access the online poker games.
bwin.party Poised in California
Perhaps no other online poker room has anticipated regulation in the U.S. as much as Party Poker. When the site voluntarily exited the U.S. market following the passage of the UIGEA in 2006, and in doing so gave up their status as the largest online poker room, they have been eyeing a return to the market ever since.
bwin.party has already formed a partnership in Nevada with MGM Resorts International and Boyd Gaming to provide their online poker software when games launch in that jurisdiction. The company has now made a similar deal in California.
The United Auburn Indian Community has teamed up with bwin.party to offer online poker in California should the state pass legislation allowing them to do so. The United Auburn Indian Community operates the Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Sacramento.
Now the company must wait and hope that California, which would be the eighth largest economy in the world if U.S. states were considered to be their own nations, passes legislation to regulate online poker.