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Is Online Poker Headed to Florida?

4 February 2011 by admin

It just seems that may be the case. After Florida lawmakers went to battle with the Seminoles last year over blackjack and their compact, it looks like they are ready to go to bat again. This time it will be over legalizing and regulating online poker within the state, and they want it for the pari-mutuels. I know, the Florida lawmakers just cannot seem to make up their minds on who they want to have what.

But while allowing pari-mutuels to offer online poker through third party sites, or even through sites they would create themselves if they so desired, there still might be competition from the Seminoles. Not that that is anything new. The Seminoles’ lawyers are far too good at understanding and finding loopholes in gambling laws. And there is a loophole that would allow the Seminoles to horn in on the online poker, which has the potential to hurt the pari-mutuels efforts. And that in turn would undermine state lawmakers’ attempts to help give pari-mutuels some edge to compete with the Seminoles.

It works like this: if Florida legislatures were to pass a bill in favor of online poker within the state, it would make online poker legal in Florida. And per federal say-so, a sovereign nation, such as the Seminoles are, are allowed to offer any form of gambling that is legal within the state that the sovereign nation resides in. Translation into how that works for the Seminoles: The Seminoles can offer any form of gambling that Florida declares legal within the state. So if state legislatures legalize online poker, the Seminoles can offer it without penalty.

Now what this means for the pari-mutuels, whom the state is intending to help by allowing them to offer online poker, is that they could be offering a form of gambling side by side with the Seminoles. In other words the Seminoles would be allowed to us a means that the state is trying to put in place to help boost pari-mutuels’ revenue.

The best that the state could do at this point is to only allow pari-mutuels to offer regulated online poker. And if the Seminoles wish to offer online poker that would be unregulated–similar to playing in an online casino overseas. Florida will protect players on the pari-mutuels sites and not those who play on the Seminole sites. Thus far this is the only way that Florida lawmakers can see to give pari-mutuels some sort of edge over the Seminoles.

One Response to “Is Online Poker Headed to Florida?”

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