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Hawaii And Ohio Added To List Of Possible Online Gambling States

Online gambling has become one of the most popular discussions at water coolers around the country over the past couple of weeks. Reports have been surfacing in many states that lawmakers are considering online gambling regulations, and with each state that throws their hat into the ring, the discussions become louder and more defined at the water coolers.

"We have been discussing this subject for months in our office," said Marcel Newstreet, an Ohio resident. "It's funny, we always talk about how just a couple of years ago, we had no casino gambling, and now it looks like we will have not only casinos, but online casinos as well. Ironic."

Newstreet's puzzlement matches what many Americans are feeling these days. The online gambling discussion intensified when the Department of Justice issued an opinion released in December that reverses the federal government's previous stand on Internet gambling. With that opinion, an entire nation turned their eyes towards the revenue possibilities of online poker and other casino games.

Ohio and Hawaii are the latest two states where a push is being made for online poker. In Ohio, voters approved four casinos a couple of years ago. The casinos will be located in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, and Toledo. The DoJ opinion has some Ohio lawmakers thinking bigger than just land-based casinos.

"We're exploring this topic," said Dennis Berg, Ohio Lottery Commission interim director. "We want to be in the forefront of being able to generate revenue for the lottery commission. But it's a policy decision that we will not make on our own."

In Hawaii, California-based US Digital Gaming has been lobbying legislators with presentations that describe the billions of dollars the state could gain by regulating online poker. The presentation is similar to others being shopped in dozens of states around the country.

"They turn out to be really large numbers that can really benefit in funding essential services for the state of Hawaii," said Digital Gaming's executive vice president, Melissa Riahei. "It is a very significant sum. What we were doing is basically just informing the senators and the representatives of what's going on across the country right now in the digital gaming world and what different states are doing."

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