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
"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.
"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.