Yet another poker bill has been dropped. Poker players in Hawaii are sure to be disappointed to learn that there will be no online gambling for Hawaii residents after its state legislature rejected the latest Internet gambling bill. Hawaii is one of two American states (the other being Utah) that did not recognize any form of gambling as a legal practice. Earlier in January, Hawaiian legislators proposed several bills that would legalize lotteries, online poker, Internet gambling, and land-based casinos. However, each of the proposals was rejected, keeping Hawaii as a no-gambling state.

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There is still light at the end of the tunnel for the bill as legislators had announced plans to conduct research on how putting casinos in the state would impact the region. Rep. Angus L.K. McKelvey, a staunch ally of legalizing online poker in the island, revealed that the purpose of the study was to determine the possible impact of operating a land-based casino.

Since Hawaii became a state in 1959, legislators have proposed implementing gambling regulations several times already. According to estimates, there had been more than 150 attempts during the past three decades. Before this last failure, the latest attempt was in April 2011.

A recent study revealed that opponents to the legalization of gambling claim that any form of gambling is immoral and will result to criminal acts, addiction, and the family and community issues. Aside from Hawaii, two other states namely Iowa and Mississippi have recently proposed regulating online poker and gambling but did not gain enough backing from the House. With pending active bills, California and New Jersey may try to become the second and third states after Nevada in legalizing online poker in the United States.

Under the proposed legislation, peer-to-peer poker would be redefined as a skill game that would fall outside the current legal standards of prohibited gambling but it also contains provisions that would result to head scratching. As an example, the proposed bill would allow residents to play Texas Hold’Em and Omaha online poker. Aside from that, it would give licenses and authority to a maximum of two online operators, which would subject them to financial obligations. State operators would need to contribute at least $100 million annually to Hawaii plus 20% of overall wagers.

This is a different situation in Nevada which is poised to become the first American state to legalize online poker. The proposed bill has recently received its first public backing from Michael Gaughan, the owner of South Point Hotel and Casino in Nevada. But even without the support of the public, the Nevada legislature is set to deliberate on AB258 on March 24th.

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