States Should Consider Cross-Border Partnerships

States Should Consider Cross-Border PartnershipsThe regulation of online poker in the U.S. is moving at a snail’s place, leaving the majority of players on the rail when it comes to consumer protections.

A study released last month by Morgan Stanley predicted that [geolink href=””]only 20 states will be offering legal Internet poker and gambling by 2020[/geolink]. In other words, in six long years, most of the country will still remain without legislation.

Forecasts such as those are undoubtedly met with a what can possibly take so long refrain from players in states that are expected to eventually join the online poker party. While players in states that are likely to not make the cut can be heard saying what about me?

State officials in many states continue to take a wait and see approach, studying the revenue numbers released by New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada to determine the benefits available. How long they continue to analyze numbers is anybody’s guess, but Morgan Stanley’s study indicates that the waiting may go on for years.

Try Cross-Border Partnerships

A number of those wait and see states are reluctant to invest time and money in bringing a regulated online poker and gambling regime to market if the revenue dollars prove to be not enough to justify doing so. One can hardly blame them for taking that approach, but it is the online poker players who continue to play without regulation that suffer in the long run.

There is a solution, and it would come in the form of cross-border partnerships. This idea was touched upon by former Nevada Gaming Control Board chairman Mark Lipparelli last year.

The idea is to allow states that may be hesitant to enact online poker legislation to approve a law that would permit their residents to play regulated Internet poker hosted by other regulated states. In other words, players in [geolink href=””]Illinois[/geolink], [geolink href=””]New York[/geolink] or [geolink href=””]Massachusetts[/geolink], to name a few, would legally be able to join the player pools in Nevada or New Jersey.

This would benefit the regulated states by increasing liquidity and revenue, as well as the states who elect to participate without going through the tedious process of approving, testing and hosting regulated online poker offerings of their own. Revenue-sharing agreements could be established between the states that would make this option a win-win for everybody.

Nothing to Lose

Following this plan of action would eliminate much of the risk involved for states that are reluctant to go the whole nine yards with online poker legislation. Those states could actually put a time limit on their approved legislation, permitting them to test the online poker cross-border agreement waters for say, one or two years. There is nothing to lose by trying!

Part of the hesitation of the states who have yet to act undoubtedly comes from the possibility that federal lawmakers will one day get around to approving (or denying) Internet poker legislation for the entire country. The cross-border partnerships would allow those states to climb aboard the online poker revenue train while that reluctancy plays itself out.

The possible benefits of approving cross-border partnerships seem enormous, while the risks involved are minute. It’s a winning proposal for all involved, and hopefully the states that are currently on the rail but want to get in on the game will take action and do so.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett