State Level Online Poker Regulations will Hurt Tribal Interest

Recently, an oversight hearing took place before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. In the hearing, it was made clear that in case state level regulation of online poker is set in place, tribal gaming interests will suffer. At present, there are no laws in the American constitution that allow tribal casinos to accept wagers from players outside tribal territories.

Tribes will not have IGRA Protection

A press release was recently issued by a lobbying group for online poker legalization, Poker Players Alliance (PPA). Patrick Fleming, the Litigation Support Director of PPA said that in case of state level regulations, tribes will not get special privileges from the IGRA (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act). Under such circumstances, tribes will require special permission from the federal government to offer real money poker online USA services to players outside their community.

Although, the PPA is pushing for national level online poker legislation, representatives of the lobbying group mentioned that the organization will not come in the way of state-wise regulation. All it wants is that poker be allowed online. If tribal gaming companies continue as competitors in the industry, they will most likely require the Congress’s help. A separate legislation has to be passed for tribal casinos, so that they can meet the challenges of a competitive environment.

1% of Tribal Revenues Come from Poker

Reports suggest that 1% of the total revenue earned by tribes come from poker. Hence, in case tribes are not able to offer online poker services, their revenue will not be affected much. According to Fleming, two questions regarding online gambling’s future are of primary concern. One is about the kind of poker variants that will be allowed under a regulated environment. The second question is whether tribal casinos can survive if state-wise regulation becomes a reality.

Nevada has already adopted online poker regulations. Other states that are in the process of formulating regulations are Iowa and New Jersey. Once online poker legislation is in place, these states can add to their revenue significantly. However, tribal casinos will not be able to reap the benefits of a regulated environment.

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