North Dakota and Illinois progress towards legalizing online poker

With the recent launch of online poker in the state of Michigan, momentum is there for online poker in the US. Things are moving forward in North Dakota and Illinois with their online poker campaign, albeit small steps.

North Dakota

On February 24, House Concurrent Resolution 3012 put forward by Rep. Kasper’s , successfully passed the House, by a vote of 54-40. The bill is now with the Senate. When the bill gets its support here, it is then up to North Dakota residents to decide on the legislature during the November 2022 general election to legalize online poker.

Rep. Kasper said prior to the vote: “There are thousands of people in the state of North Dakota who are playing online poker. It’s not regulated. It’s not taxed. We don’t know for sure if the machines are fair or not because we don’t know anything about it,”

Two other proposals regarding online gambling for the state are also with the Senate now and if approved there will also find their way to the 2022 general election

Apart from online poker, the issue about sports betting will also be placed on the 2022 general election ballot, if House Concurrent Resolution 3032 covers the issue of sports betting, while House Bill 1389 looks ahead to the licensing process for online poker and the mechanics of it.

Details outlined in House Bill 1389, propose that operators would need to pay a one-time licensing fee of $10,000 upon application, and an annual renewal fee of $5,000. State earnings would come from a 10% tax imposed on the operators’ adjusted gross revenue.

The bill further indicates that the minimum age for Poker players should be 21 years, and the poker games that would be allowed are Texas Hold’em, Omaha, stud, low ball, draw, and “any combination” of the said games. Part of the tax revenue is intended to be allocated to gambling prevention and care.

A Senate vote on the bills can be expected in a few weeks from now.

Illinois

On February 19, Illinois representatives Robert Rita and Jonathan Carroll introduced House Bill 3142 that would fast-track the launch of online gaming in the state, under the “Internet Gaming Act”. The bill will first be voted upon by a committee, after which it will be considered for a floor vote.

The bill states that the Illinois Gaming Board is to establish regulations within 90 days in order to speed up the launching process up.

Furthermore, the proposal recommends that the state regulators follow existing blueprints by other states, and include granting  temporary licenses to applicants which have already been approved to offer sports betting in the state. This temporary license should then be valid for one year.

There are a total of 13 licenses available, each costing $500,000, with operators also required to pay a $250,000 four-year renewal fee. Proposed state earnings by tax are at a rate of 12% of adjusted gross revenue.

Of key importance to online poker players and operators is the potential player pool. The Internet Gaming Act would approve for interstate gaming agreements, pooling up with other states that already have the agreement in place such as Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. Michigan state is expected to enter such agreement and although Pennsylvania have passed legislature to enter, they have not done so yet.

With more and more states starting to allow online poker while entering interstate gaming agreements, we can start to look ahead to see a rebirth of online-poker, coming a long way since the DOJ shut it down on Black Friday, April 15, 2011.

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