In a victory for many, including states and state lotteries, Sen. Harry Reid on Friday pulled his Internet poker bill from consideration in the waning days of Congress this year. He stated that he just ran out of time to build a consensus, but you can bet he will try again next year. After all, many of the gaming companies headquartered in his home state of Nevada are salivating at the prospect of legalized Internet poker at the federal level.
That makes two consecutive years that state lotteries have received a Christmas present of sorts. Last year at this time the Justice Department issued a letter that paved the way for lotteries to offer games via the Internet to players within their own states. This year, with the bill dead for the time being, lotteries and states can continue down their own paths – choosing what is right for them. It truly is a states rights issue.
Making that point known is the reason several lottery directors and representatives from the major lottery industry suppliers descended upon Washington two weeks ago to express their concerns about Reid’s proposal. That remarkable event underscores the importance of the issue – it was really the first time such a large group got together for this purpose.
So without federal legislation to the contrary, states continue to move forward. The Georgia Lottery is already following the trail blazed by the Illinois Lottery, and the Delaware Lottery is preparing to follow suit. Many others are in various stages of development as well. And today, the New Jersey Assembly is scheduled to vote on a bill to offer online casino gaming within the state’s borders.
Of course, if the world ends on December 21, all this will be for nothing. Personally, I expect the date to pass normally and look forward to a flurry of activity on the Internet gaming front during 2013.