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Supreme Court Scholar: 'Internet Poker Will See A Boom' Thanks To Sports Betting

SCOTUS Ruling On Sports Betting Law Could Pave Way For More Poker


Last month’s Supreme Court ruling on sports betting bolstered states’ rights when it comes to gambling. That bodes well for regulated internet poker, which has been legalized in just four states since online poker’s Black Friday in April 2011.

Because sports betting is now allowed to be legalized and taxed in all 50 states, which includes the opportunity for states to allow bets to be placed over the internet, it’s pretty straightforward to see how internet poker could finally proliferate under a new legal landscape that grows the overall online gaming market potential. The SCOTUS ruling has already prompted one longtime online poker advocate in Congress to consider renewing his efforts for a federal bill.

Whether it’s through the state or federal levels, online poker will likely expand more rapidly.

David Rebuck, New Jersey’s top casino regulator, told the Associated Press last year: “If we win sports wagering, online gaming will go to every state that adopts sports betting. As soon as sports wagering is legalized, online gaming will follow right behind it.”

The sentiment was echoed this month by one of the country’s foremost experts on gambling law and the Supreme Court, Whittier Law School professor I. Nelson Rose. Like Rebuck, he sees online card game approval in more states by way of riding sports betting’s coattails.

“Internet poker will see a boom,” wrote Rose, who was a key figure in the formation of California’s card room industry in the 1980s. “President Obama’s Department of Justice [in 2011] and federal courts have ruled that the Wire Act [of 1961] is limited to wagers on sports events and races. But all states, other than Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, have been slow to recognize that all other forms of gambling can, with a little creative legal work, be conducted with bettors in different states and even nations. Once state lawmakers realize that the door really is wide open, they will look for more online gaming to authorize and tax.”

In early May, Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey joined forces for online poker. Last fall, Pennsylvania legalized online casinos, which could launch later this year.