Iowa Online Poker
Iowa is one of the few states where there has been a serious discussion about online poker in the state’s legislature. State Senators Robert E. Dvorsky and Randy Feenstra sponsored Senate File 2275. The bill passed the Iowa Senate by a vote of 29-20 on March 13, 2012.
Unfortunately for Iowa online poker players, the bill never received a vote in the Iowa House of Representatives and died at the end of the 2012 Iowa Legislature. A similar bill failed to make it out of committee by Crossover Day in 2013 so it failed by not making the deadline to go to a vote before the legislative deadline.
The bill would have allowed online poker and no other versions of online gambling. The state would have received a tax of 22-24% of net rake. Online poker rooms would also be required to donate 3% of their net rake to charities, something also required of brick and mortar operators.
Bill Showed Iowa Understood Online Poker
The sponsors of the bill showed a vast understanding of online poker with their formula for computing net rake. The state acknowledged that rake was not just cash game rake, but also tournament entry fees. In addition to this, the state would have allowed online poker rooms to deduct the money given in deposit bonuses and promotions. Many states do not even allow their brick and mortar casino industry deduct these types of promotional expenses, but Iowa was proactive in including them in their online poker bill. Any player caught cheating in Iowa online poker rooms would be charged with the same type of crime accused brick and mortar casino cheats. Casino cheating is a D felony in Iowa.
Iowa Online Poker Licensing Requirements
The bill required operators to already be licensed in Iowa. Licensed online poker operators would be required to keep detailed records of online poker player’s wins, losses and current balances. The records would not be available to the general public but would have been available to Iowa regulators and the federal government upon request.
Iowa Gambling History
Iowa has always been progressive with gambling. Iowa became the first state to legalize riverboat casinos in 1991. All gambling games have been allowed in Iowa since the launch of riverboat gambling. These games include poker, craps, roulette, blackjack, video poker and slots. Iowa originally required the boats to leave the dock for two hours at a time. Players could not gamble while the boats were docked and were limited to a loss of $200 for every two hour period. These requirements were dropped once gambling was legalized in neighboring Illinois. Loss limits ceased to exist in the U.S. once Missouri voters ousted their $500 two hour loss limit in 2008.
Read the Iowa online poker bill here.