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5 States Likely to Legalize Online Poker Very Soon

7 September 2013, By: Pokerjunkie.com

Online poker in the United States is about to grow in a major way as games are expected to go live in Delaware and New Jersey by the end of the year.

Several additional online poker rooms should also open in Nevada by year's end.

While only three states have legalized online poker, several others have discussed the measure. Below we give you our picks for the next five states to launch legalized online poker.

California

California is the state that has shown the most activity towards legalizing online poker with three different bills currently floating around waiting for the state legislature to move.

SB 678, SB 51, and the Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2013 drafted by the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians are the three bills being explored.

SB 678 and SB 51 are similar in that they would both legalize online poker in the state. SB 51 would include not only card rooms but also racetracks and online horse racing establishments.

The Pechanga proposal would legalize online poker but would only allow state-run card clubs and Indian casinos the ability to offer online poker. Online poker would be only allowed within California and online compacts with other states would not be permitted.

The biggest roadblock to online poker in California are the Indian nations. While some support online poker, other tribes are strongly against the move as they feel it will hurt brick and mortar profits. There are also disagreements on whether to allow state compacts.

Once a proposal is drafted that meets the approval of a majority of the California Indian nations, you will see poker legalized in the state.

Iowa

Measures to pass online poker in 2012 and 2013 both failed but some believe that online poker in the state is only a matter of time.

The state already has horse racing, greyhound racing, riverboat casinos, bingo and tribal and riverboat casinos.

Iowa lawmakers may be taking a "wait and see" approach to see how Nevada and New Jersey do. Iowa is one state where interstate compacts may be the only way that the online game proves viable.

Should New Jersey and Nevada show that the game can be profitable, Iowa could well hop on board the bandwagon in 2014.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is currently exploring whether to legalize the game. Back in April, HB 1235 was introduced to allow state casinos to offer both online poker and casino games within state borders. Tourists would not be allowed to participate.

Odds of Pennsylvania passing the measure sometime in the future seem strong considering the fact that New Jersey will go live with online gambling later in the year.

Potential partnerships between New Jersey and Pennsylvania could help to increase the likelyhood of the bill's passage.

Florida

Florida is one state whose population could feasibly support intrastate online poker. Live poker is big business right now and the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open recently held an event that shattered a guarantee of $10 million.

Poker is booming in the state and casinos could start putting the pressure on lawmakers soon to take the game online.

Since Florida is experiencing its own version of the poker boom in brick-and-mortar casinos its entrance into the online poker world will likely be a reactionary one.

New Jersey is set to go online in November. Should it establish compacts with Nevada by the beginning of 2014, Florida may decide to throw its hat into the ring and take advantage of the huge profit potential available.

Maryland

Brick-and-mortar poker is expanding in Maryland and it could be a state that also decides to legalize the online game in the near future.

By 2014, there will be three live casinos offering live poker. This was a result of a voter referendum in 2012 allowing table games.

Online horse betting is already legal in the state and there have been no serious talks about legalizing online gaming as of yet. However, should the live game prove as profitable as many expect, that discussion could change around the middle to later part of 2014.

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