February 14, 2021 | Last updated on February 14, 2021
Before 2021, most analysts in the online gambling industry would not have put North Dakota on the list of possible legal online poker states. States like Kentucky and New York, Connecticut and Illinois have been an issue for most people.
But then North Dakota just came into the world without a care. And it is sure to turn heads with its online poker bill, continues this week and passes a committee accompanied by state representative Jim Kasper.
North Dakota how are you
Look vaguely familiar
While most don't recognize North Dakota as a potential online poker powerhouse, PokerNews has recognized it. Chad Holloway recalled that Representative Kasper, like many others, became interested in poker after Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 WSOP Main Event. In addition, in 2005 Kasper introduced a bill to legalize online poker. It passed the house.
To bring the power behind the bill, Kasper invited poker players like 2004 WSOP Main Event champions Greg Raymer and Allyn Jaffrey Shulman to testify before a Senate committee in 2005. They also hosted a live poker training session and a poker tournament for lawmakers.
Despite the good times, the North Dakota Senators left a note on the bedside table with a 43-3 vote against the bill. They were concerned about potential conflicts with the US Wire Act. Issues warned by the US Department of Justice could be problematic.
Look good after all these years
Kasper never forgot about online poker, but the industry has been changing for many years. No state in America legalized online poker prior to the US Department of Justice's opinion on the Wire Act 2011, which states that the Wire Act only affects sports betting, does not affect lotteries or any other form of online gambling.
Even so, Black Friday caught everyone's attention, and even as states like New Jersey and Nevada legalized online poker within their borders, Kasper didn't feel that North Dakota lawmakers were ready to join the club.
Kasper saw a change in 2020 – actually several changes.
First, the coronavirus pandemic has shown that land gambling has its limits. The states with online gambling components weathered the pandemic shutdowns much better than others. While not all legislators may be prepared for full online gambling options, Kasper can defend poker as a game of skill all day long.
Second, more states of Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware have joined in recent years. Pennsylvania launched its first state-regulated online poker site in 2019. Michigan and West Virginia legalized online poker in 2019, among others.
Third, after the Trump administration threw the Wire Act's interpretation into chaos in 2018, states resisted or plans to invest in any form of online lottery or gambling. They supported a New Hampshire Lottery Commission lawsuit that was won in US District Court. In late 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the decision that the Wire Act only affects sports betting.
Fourth, a lucrative online poker market came into view. For years, only New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware offered online poker and linked an operator (WSOP) through an interstate poker liquidity arrangement. But Pennsylvania added intrigue and Michigan passed an amendment to keep poker liquidity going forward. A large interstate poker market has great potential.
An effort to reconnect
On January 14th, Kasper introduced HCR.3012, "a concurrent resolution to amend and readjust Article XI Section 25 of the North Dakota Constitution relating to the approval of live internet poker." The sponsors of the bill were:
–Rep. James Kasper (R)
–Rep. Claire cory (r)
–Rep. Jason Dockter (R)
–Rep. Scott Louser (R)
–Rep. Corey Mock (D)
–Rep. Matthew Ruby (R)
The bill is considered bipartisan with only one Republican, as the North Dakota House of Representatives has 80 Republican members and only 14 Democratic members.
The first reading of HCR.3012 on January 14 took place in the Judiciary Committee.
According to the resolution document, the bill is intended to authorize North Dakota internet poker, which is licensed and regulated by the state. If the House and Senate approve it, it will go to North Dakota voters in the 2022 general election.
First hearing of the committee
The first meeting of the House Judiciary Committee was held on February 9th. Kasper recalled his earlier efforts and explained the recent comments on the Wire Act. Additionally, he found that he spoke with current North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem about HCR.3012 and received confirmation of its legality under the current interpretation of the Wire Act.
Kasper explained how internet poker works and how companies protect players. He remembered his lifelong love of poker and a new interest in playing online through the moneymaker effect. He then discussed the states that have already legalized online poker and how interstate liquidity would work.
Currently, Kasper explained, people play subscription-based online poker, but North Dakota law prohibits any other form of online poker.
In essence, Kasper asked for the opportunity to introduce the subject to the people of the state.
A little clarification needed
There are a few things that Kasper would like to communicate to other members of the committee and the state parliament before the vote.
– To call the game "Internet Live Poker" is confusing. Live poker means the type of games played in person in a casino or card room, while internet poker is entirely online.
– Online poker operators often have servers in other countries, but when establishing operations in one state, regulations often require that they set up servers in that state. Online poker operators in the new US market are flexible.
–The multi-state agreement must be specified in the final draft of the bill.
– Subscription online poker sites and current offshore sites aimed at US customers are very different.
– The Wire Act decision came in 2020 and was only upheld by the appeals court last December. And the Biden Administration is unlikely to appeal to the US Supreme Court.
–There are numerous states that would like to discuss the necessary regulations and oversight, states that are already operating their systems effectively.
–Native American tribes need to be involved in the negotiations and a provision needs to be included in the bill to allow an amendment to their treaties with the state. Tribes in North Dakota are currently unable to offer real money online poker. Michigan might be able to shed light on this process as their bill housed and worked with tribes.
– Players may not have restrictions on how they can play poker online, but there are many ways that websites allow players to restrict their play through responsible gambling programs.
Collette Brown testified against the bill. She is the executive director of the Gaming Commission of the Gambling Regulation and Compliance Department at Spirit Lake Casino and Resort Devil & # 39; s Lake. She was very confused about online poker. She mentioned games like three-card poker and other casino table games, not real poker.
Most of your concerns are addressed by the online poker operators themselves. No licenses will be issued without research and background checks on all potential poker providers. Every other topic she brought up is very common in other states, and any state regulator can answer all of these questions.
In essence, she asked for a study on the subject.
Mark Levitan, legal advisor to the Turtle Mountain Band of the Chippewa Indians, spoke out against it because of the structure of the proposed revenue structure. He complained that most of the revenue would go to corporations outside of the state without most of the revenue going to North Dakota.
Levitan mistakenly assumed that most online poker operations involve house bank games, but he misunderstood that poker is a player-to-player game. Like Brown, he confuses table game casino poker with online poker.
He also believes that online poker should only be a tribal offer.
Online Poker in the Cards for North Dakota? https://t.co/bzez8XPtmR
– WDAY TV News (@WDAYnews) January 24, 2021
Document accompanying the original
It is important that Kaspers HCR.3012 includes an accompanying invoice. This bill is HB.1389, proposed by all of the members listed above except Docktor. This bill creates a new chapter of the North Dakota Century Code to change the definition of gambling and offer some details.
The bill officially classifies "Internet Live Poker" as a "lawful competition of skills" in the state code. That being said, there are problems. Let's start with the definition section:
-1. "Adjusted Gross Proceeds" means all amounts wagered on an Internet Live Poker hand that may be withheld by the Licensed Internet Live Poker Facility as compensation. "I think they mean gross gaming revenue, but it's unclear.
-2. Here they define "Internet Live Poker" in what should simply be Internet Poker.
-3. "Licensed Internet Live Poker Facility" means a facility licensed by the Attorney General under this Chapter to conduct Internet Live Poker games. "Internet live poker is again misleading, especially when combined with a word like premises, which tends to mean an establishment on land.
It's all a bit confusing in the tax area.
-4. Not only are taxes on "Adjusted Gross Revenue" very low, the idea of charging a website an annual license fee of $ 10 for each player who plays on the site is unusual. It also gives the state absolutely no idea how much revenue it will generate each year as it depends on each and every person who signs up.
Regarding the "Internet Live Poker Revenue Fund", the state must decide together with the tribes, particularly considering their concerns mentioned above.
North Dakota could take a step closer to legalizing online poker. Http://t.co/BhU0pPnFcm
– Valley News Live (@ValleyNewsLive) February 10, 2021
Kasper needs support
In the above video interview with Chad Holloway, Kasper admitted that he could use some industry experts to speak to other lawmakers and testify about online poker.
Wouldn't it be nice to have an organization that advocates online poker in government legislation and gives professional testimony in such situations? But I digress …
Hopefully there are poker players or industry executives who offer to give testimony. As can be seen from my comments in this article, there are numerous issues that need to be addressed with regard to the current bills. It seems that Kasper is open to it.
There is great potential to put North Dakota on the internet poker card in the burgeoning US market. If the poker community can help Rep. Kasper get this right, it could help spread poker to new parts of the country in the next few years.
Jennifer began writing about poker on the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world by starting a new subscription boxing company and completing her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has closely followed the US poker and gaming markets for the past 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter
Disclaimer: The information on this website is my interpretation of the laws made available online. It is in no way intended as legal advice or instruction. We recommend that you seek advice from a licensed attorney for further or official guidance.