A special online poker study ordered by state legislature has been completed by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC).
The Commission has already submitted the results of the online poker study to the state elected officials who requested the information earlier this year in an effort to fast track the legalization of intrastate online poker sites in Iowa.
Iowa state lawmakers ordered IRGC to assess all implications of online poker legalization on the intrastate level. The study is a building block (or a delaying tactic) before further debate takes place sometime later in 2012.
The results of the IRGC’s study estimate the profits of online poker operators in Iowa between $13 and $60 million per annum (if the law permitting online poker in the state is enacted). If state law makers set Iowa gambling laws tax rate at twenty two percent, similarly to Iowa’s casino taxes, online poker could generate between $3 and $13 million annually in tax profits for the state coffers.
The study’s projection used several models and estimated the number of poker players from 34,000 to 172,000. Recent estimates by gambling industry officials reveal that 150,000 Iowa residents engage in online poker activities via illegal and unregulated foreign-based sites.
Administrator of the Commission, Jack Ketterer, noted that the report is not making any recommendations for lawmaker on whether they should proceed with online poker legalization in Iowa or not.
He told United States gambling news: “Our goal was fact finding and information gathering that could help the legislators who might face bills to be better informed so they could make a public policy decision that was in the best interest of Iowa. I think that is really a public policy question.”
He added that in case lawmakers should allow regulated online poker activity, the three Indian tribes in Iowa will naturally be offered the same opportunities under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Ketterer shared that the state agency is in the position to regulate online poker in case the gambling regulations allow such activity.