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Senate Committee Moves Online Gambling Bill Forward In Iowa

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Governor Chris Christie had the opportunity to do something historic in New Jersey on Thursday, but instead of putting his signature on a bill created by lawmakers that would regulate online gambling, Christie chose to veto the legislation. That opened the door for other states to become the first in the nation to regulate the billion dollar industry.

While Christie was vetoing the bill in New Jersey, lawmakers in Iowa were moving forward with plans to regulate Internet gambling. A bill has passed a key Senate Committee this week, and the legislation will now move forward.

Those in favor of regulation point to the estimated 150,000 Iowa residents that are already gambling online. The state also could profit almost $40 million annually from the activity if it is regulated. The revenue is enough incentive for lawmakers to move forward with the bill.

The opposition, however, is present as well. Senator Jerry Behn, and some of his colleagues, feel that the voters should a say in whether online gambling is regulated in Iowa. Other opponents of the bill claim that there will not be enough safeguards in place to keep the regulations tight.

The current bill would add an online poker site to the state's gaming options. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission would regulate the site. Iowa casinos would join forces with an online gaming operator to run the site. The rules for the new law would be similar to what was proposed in New Jersey, nobody under the age of twenty-one could participate, and only Iowa residents would be authorized to use the site.

Online poker has become one of the fastest growing industries in the world over the past decade. Foreign countries have started to change their online gambling laws in big numbers. Germany, France, Spain, and Italy are all opening up their Internet gambling industries, and the US is being urged to do the same.

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