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States Vary On Opinions Of A Federal Online Gambling Bill

Lawmakers in dozens of states received a gift late last year when the Department of Justice opened the door for regulated online gambling. The states, however, are split on whether or not the federal government should pass an Internet gaming law that would blanket all states.

New Hampshire Lottery Director Charlie McIntyre is among those that believe the federal government should stay out of the online gambling industry. McIntyre believes states should have the right to craft their own laws regarding the issue.

"I find it kind of offensive," said McIntyre, when asked about a possible federal Internet gambling law. "We handle education, crime prevention, and a lot of other important things but e-commerce? The state I work for is not going to want to hear that Congress has passed a bill for Internet poker."

On the other side of the spectrum is Senator Harry Reid from Nevada. The senator is expected to flaunt his political strength in the coming months to try and push through an online poker law at the federal level. Many of the larger Las Vegas-based gaming companies would prefer the law be created at the federal, not the state, level.

"There has to be some minimum standards," said Frank Fahrenkopf, CEO of the American Gaming Association, the largest and most powerful gaming lobby in the US. "If not, it will vary from state to state, which is not healthy."

Ironically, while Nevada-based companies are lobbying for federal laws regulating online poker, their own state is one of only two that has already crafted an online gambling bill. Nevada is poised to become the Internet gaming capital of the US, much like it holds that distinction in the land-based gaming industry. The District of Columbia will become the first to offer regulated online poker when their site goes live sometime in April.

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