Iowa politicians start debating measure to legalize Net poker

Politicians in Iowa have begun debating proposed legislation to legalize online poker, while also allowing pari-mutuel licensees to offer advanced deposit wagering.

The bill, known as the Internet Consumer Protect ion and Revenue Generation Act of 2011, would create intrastate online poker overseen by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.

The measure would allow online poker operators in the state to be licensed by the commission for an annual fee of $250,000. According to the measure, the state is looking to "provide a new source of revenue that will generate economic benefits" through legal online gaming instead of offshore wagering.

Both Florida and California have measures making their way through the legislative process. A decision was expected Thursday by Republican Gov. Chris Christie on whether he would sign a bill approved by New Jersey legislators.

David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said the effort to legalize online gaming in other states was "going to push Nevada into legalizing it here so we are not left behind."