Although former Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Mark Lipparelli is no longer designing online gambling regulations, he is still playing a key role in pressurizing the US federal government to legalize the online poker industry at the federal level.
According to Lipparelli’s opinion piece published on Roll Call, state lotteries, which already have a share of the online gaming market, do not want any other forms of online gaming legalized for fear of losing their monopoly. Although online poker is hardly related to lottery games, state lotteries consider it to be a threat and are arguing against federal online gaming legalizing because they do not want any competition from Native Americans, riverboat casinos, racetracks, bingo parlors, and others.
Speaking about the need for online poker legalization, he said that without proper federal laws, each state will create its own set of regulations, leading to confusion and chaos. The difference in regulation will also make it difficult for online gambling operators to provide innovative Internet gaming products. Besides, illegal operators can take advantage of varying sets of regulations and cheat players.
Lipparelli further said in his opinion piece: “We should look at how federal legislation on Internet gaming would benefit us all with funding for hard-pressed states, and acknowledge a pure exclusionary maneuver by the state lotteries for what it is. And we must recognize how very brief is the window of time we have to pass this much-needed federal legislation, the Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012.”
When Lipparelli was heading one of Nevada’s two regulatory bodies, he played an active part in the procedure that resulting in the approval of the first regulatory framework for online poker in the US. Lipparelli put the Silver State in the limelight, as an example for other US states that are planning to regulate their online gaming industries.
Simultaneously, Nevada as well as Lipparelli wants proper federal regulation for online poker not only for liquidity, but also for several other reasons. Arguing in favor of poker-only federal laws, he said that “without congressional action, slot machines and roulette wheels will soon be spinning inside every computer and cellphone in America.”
Lipparelli has been advocating federal-level legalization of online poker for a long time. In 2011, he testified for online gaming at a House hearing. Now, he plans to “cool off” for a year and then enter the private sector once again.