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National Council on Gaming reconsiders stance on online casinos

The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) took a position against online casinos in the late 1990's, fearing that online casinos would take the ability to control gambling away from states. The organization may reevaluate that online casinos position after holding a hearing on the issue at its summer meeting in Boston recently.
Current legislative efforts in the U.S. Congress, such as Rep. Bob Goodlatte's (R-Va.) Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, have brought online casinos issues into the national spotlight, leading NCLGS to begin the process of reviewing its current position on the online casinos indsutry.
"Some people have suggested that there is now sufficient technology to ensure that states would be able to control what types of gambling are legal in their states," said Florida State Sen. Steven Geller, President of NCLGS. "If that is accurate, that is a whole new ballgame for us."
Bill White, the CEO of Global Cyber LLC, claimed his company has developed technology that will "perfectly regulate Internet gambling."
"If regulated, Internet gambling would essentially be the same as gambling at a casino," White said, comparing the experience to seeing a DVD at home instead of going to a movie theatre.
White plans to use his software to create an intrastate online casinos gambling model. The system would verify the position of online casinos players by use of GPS. People outside a state's borders would not be allowed to purchase lottery tickets, play poker or place wagers at online casinos licensed by that state.
While the online casinos regulation idea sounds promising for states that might like to regulate online casinos, there are a number of questions about the efficacy and the legality of the system. One year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could not discriminate between in-state and out-of-state Internet wine sales under the Commerce Clause in Granholm vs. Heald.
"Time and again this Court has held that, in all but the narrowest of circumstances, state laws violate the Commerce Clause if they mandate 'differential treatment of in-state and out-of-state economic interests that benefit the former and burdens the latter,'" Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority in the decision.
Should individual states move to regulate certain online casinos or other internet gambling activities, such as lottery ticket sales, online casinos games, or poker, it is uncertain whether the same opinion would apply. However, out-of-state residents are currently allowed to participate in any gaming activity currently regulated by individual states. The question is, would out-of-state residents be afforded the same opportunity at online casinos on the internet.
Internet poker adds another challenge to the possibility of intrastate gaming, as offshore sites offer online casinos networks with tens of thousands of players. States with small or medium populations would likely have a hard time sustaining a poker network on their own.
"I don't believe there's any practical way of saying 'We will permit this only for residents of Delaware,'" Geller said.




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