Utah is First State to Outlaw Any Federal Online Poker Legislation

By Maria McCoyGoogle

With discussions and legislation pending in several states as well as in the US federal government regarding the legalization of casino games online, the state of Utah has decided to go in the other direction.

Earlier this last week, Governor Gary Herbert signed legislation, HB108, which makes online poker illegal in the state of Utah. The bill passed the Utah House and Senate passed earlier in the month unanimously. By making HB108 the law, Utah has become the ninth state to officially outlaw online poker and online casino games. According to the legislation, it will now be deemed a misdemeanor crime under the statutes, a less severe connotation than felony, which was previously considered.

The bill also includes severe language that will effect Utah’s gambling population in the future. According to the bill, residents of Utah will be prohibited from participating in any federally legislated online casino games ruling.

The bill states, “If any federal law is enacted that authorizes internet gambling in the (country) and that federal law provides that individual states may opt out, this state shall opt out of internet gambling in the manner provided by federal law.”

Essentially, this stipulation will stifle any future House, Senate or Governor from allowing its citizens to be able to participate in a federally regulated online poker market and top online casinos. In order for residents of Utah to play, HB108 would have to be overturned by the state’s government. This is highly improbably as Utah has never allowed any form of gambling, including lotteries.

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