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US legal update: four states seeking to introduce gambling regulations

Online poker in the USA keeps slowly developing in terms of laws and regulations. At the beginning of 2019, only four states have legalized online gambling: Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, and before those, 2 years have passed without new regulations. This year at least another four states are actively looking to legalize online poker: Michigan, Kentucky, Georgia, and Virginia.

US legal update: four states seeking to introduce gambling regulations

Michigan Regulatory Reform Committee approved HB 4311

Michigan is the state that has advanced the most in regulating online gambling. Last year, the Michigan Senate and House approved the project HB 4926, but right when all players and operators were celebrating, Governor Rick Snyder vetoed the approved regulation. A new bill was introducing taking into account Snyder comments, and now with Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the result may be different. HB4311, also known as the 2019 Lawful Internet Gaming Act, has a companion bill in the Michigan Senate (SB 186) with the same name.

Both bills include the same financial conditions than the project approved last year: a $200,000 license, a yearly fee of $100,000, and an 8% tax on gross gaming revenue GGR.

Kentucky delays online poker regulation until 2020

The Bluegrass state is well-known for having a long-time tradition of horse racing. This year the House Bill 175 was introduced, including the expansion of gambling beyond horse racing, including casino games, sports betting, and online poker. 

This week the Representative Adam Koening confirmed that although the bill has good support both in the House and the Senate, it won't be discussed this year and all fans must wait until next year. To be approved this year, HB175 must get 60% positive votes, while in 2020 must only get 51%, due to local regulations.

Kentucky expects to receive over $15MUSD in revenue each year from gambling regulation, which is critical for the state's development as the budget is lacking resources.

Georgia casino bill won't be voted this year

Despite being approved by the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee, House Resolution 327, a bill introduced seeking to ask Georgia residents if they want to have destinations resorts or not. HR 327 was only about adding the question to the 2020 ballot, but according to Georgia laws, the deadline to pass the bill is in March, which leaves no time to vote the project.

Representative Ron Stephens, the bill sponsor, commented that next year will introduce the project again; although the project doesn't directly legalize gambling, it's the first step for one of the largest US states (with almost 10 million inhabitants) and if gets approved, in the future the resorts and casinos opened may seek for online licenses, just as happened in other states like Nevada or New Jersey.

Virginia governor signs gambling bill

Last month the Virginia House passed SB1126, a project approving the construction of brick and mortar casinos within the state. This week Governor Ralph Northam signed SB1126, which clears the path to ask residents whether they approve casinos or no, which can happen only next year.

SB1126 only authorizes the construction of 5 casinos in designated locations (Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth, Norfolk, and Richmond) and online poker must wait until all casino development happened because the law states that bets may only be placed at authorized casinos, something that can evolve to partnerships with online poker rooms and casino venues.

Conclusion

Although online gambling seems to be evolving in the USA, it can take up to 2-3 years to be implemented, which means an eternity!. Our recommendation for US residents looking for online poker games is to register at the best USA-friendly online poker rooms, where you can get the best rakeback deals from Worldpokerdeals.

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Vargoso 27.03.19 30
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