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Iowa Senate Approves Online Poker Measure

Iowa Senate

On Tuesday night, the Iowa Senate approved a measure, by a vote of 29 to 20, which allows for state casinos and racetracks to offer Internet poker. The vote means the measure will now move on to the House. If approved there and subsequently signed by Governor Terry Branstad, the state would be among the first to pass online poker legislation.

The latest development comes approximately three weeks after a legislative subcommittee and Senate State Government Committee both approved the Iowa Senate Study Bill. “I don’t see this as an expansion of gambling,” Sen. Rick Bertrand, R-Sioux City said after the bill passed the Senate State Government Committee. “I see this as an expansion of freedom.”

According to CBS News, Sen. Jeff Danielson, D-Cedar Falls was an advocate of the bill. "We want to protect Iowa consumers and we want to protect the investment Iowa has made up to this point," Danielson said.

Projections show that legalization of online poker in the state could generate between $3 to $13 million in state tax revenue, which would be licensed and regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

A February poll by The Des Moines Register that showed 69 percent of Iowa residents opposed legalization of online poker, while 28 percent did support the measure. On the other hand, opposition was down from 73 percent from a poll a year before.

View Senate Study Bill 3164 in its entirety.

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