Iowa urged to protect its state prerogative on gambling

Posted on September 30, 2009 by Pauline Lindsay

n a briefing to Iowa state leadership, the chief executive of the state lottery, Terry Rich, has opined that HR2267, a bill authored by Representative Barney Frank to legalise online gambling in the USA could be passed as a federal law. Consequently, it was important that Iowa should keep its options open and develop plans to "protect its borders" while Internet gambling legislation is being debated in Congress, he said.

Rich briefed the Iowa Lottery Board on the Frank bill, saying: "Based upon what we are seeing, I think that the federal government may pass something. Obviously, our job as employees of the state...is to make sure that our elected officials know that if it does pass, what impact it might have for the state," Rich said.

The lotteries executive pointed out that legislation could include provisions authorising the federal government to regulate and tax Internet gambling in Iowa if the state's elected officials don't take action within a specified time frame. It was therefore important that state officials ensured the protection of state rights to either reject or approve Internet gambling, and to impose taxes.

"The decision may be to do something, do nothing; but to at least have control so that if you do something in the state of Iowa that the state legislature and the governor decides what it should be," Rich said.

The lottery official said he has been briefing Governor Chet Culver's staff and the Iowa Legislature's Government Oversight Committee on the issue.

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