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Delaware Eying West Virgina and Rhode Island as Potential Partners for Interstate Online Poker

Legislation in Delaware Moves to House Vote


Delaware Capitol BuildingA bill in Delaware that would legalize online poker and expand other forms of gambling in the state has been voted out of committee and sent to a House vote, The Associated Press reported on Friday.

The governor’s office told Card Player in March that it would take up the issue in order for its gaming industry to remain competitive in the region.

“Our industry is on the severe defensive,” said Brian Selander, Chief Strategy Officer to Gov. Jack Markell. He added that the bill has a good chance of passing: “Delaware moves quickly, and we tend not to fight all that much.”

The Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012 was introduced on May 9.

At the most recent Nevada Gaming Policy Committee meeting in Las Vegas, a researcher at the Gaming Control Board said that Delaware is looking to partner with West Virgina and Rhode Island in offering online poker. West Virginia nor Rhode Island have an online gaming bill in their respective legislatures. Delaware has less than a million residents.

A Department of Justice legal opinion in December 2011 opened the door for states to pursue intrastate online gaming, but questions still remain about whether it gave the OK for state-to-state compacts.

Nevada, which has already legalized online poker and is on the verge of licensing its first sites, also has to deal with the liquidity issue. The Silver State has 2.7 million residents, but would be aided by allowing its tourists to play. Neighboring California has a bill in the works and is a logical partner, but has expressed intent to go stag.

Card playing in Nevada could go online before 2013.

Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus