Florida May be the First State to Regulate Online Poker

February 28, 2011

The question of legalizing and regulating online poker has been raised time and time again across the United States at both the state and federal level. New Jersey has actually passed an online gambling bill while California legislators have proposed legislation to regulate Internet poker.

Now Florida has moved through the red tape and may actually become the first state to legally offer online poker, and this could all be reality by July of this year. Rep. Joseph Abruzzo has introduced legislation that will be discussed by Florida lawmakers beginning March 8th. If approved, Internet poker would likely be legal in Florida before New Jersey and California.

Gaming Analyst Steve Schwartz notes that “It is likely with a $4 billion budget deficit that Florida legislators will approve the online gambling bill. The revenue may be too much to ignore for lawmakers looking to win over public support.”

The problem though is that for Abruzzo, his party is the minority in Florida, and the Republican party has been against the idea of gambling expansion. However former Gov. Charlie Crist was able to negotiate a contract with the Seminole Indians that moved the industry forward.

The time is now for Florida to expand gambling to the online sector, as millions of gamblers are already betting online at unregulated online poker clubs while millions dollars that could potentially be taxed goes back and forth to other countries. Abruzzo’s argument is that he wants to protect those gamblers, as well as bring in some much needed revenue for the state. “We want to legalize it,” Abruzzo said. “Regulate it, and bring revenue to Florida. To me it’s common sense to protect our players.”


Comments are closed.