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Internet Poker Arguments Heat up Capitol

9 Mar 2005

BISMARCK, North Dakota -- As reported by the Associated Press: "North Dakota should license Internet poker sites instead of turning a blind eye to the business, and both the state's treasury and the Bank of North Dakota would benefit, industry officials contend. Opponents say the proposal would encourage gambling instead of work.

"...They spoke Tuesday during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on legislation that would authorize North Dakota to license, regulate and tax Internet poker sites. It would become the first U.S. state to do so.

"...Under the legislation, the attorney general would have the responsibility of regulating Internet poker sites. North Dakota voters would also have to approve a state constitutional amendment for the bill to take effect. The House voted Tuesday to put the amendment on the ballot, but a Senate hearing and vote is still pending.

"...Michael Corfman, president of Casino City Press of Newton, Mass., a company that tracks the Internet gambling industry, said the number of poker sites has risen from 43 in June 2003 to 266 at the end of last month.

"If a state agrees to license Internet poker sites, American players, who make up a majority of the market, will naturally gravitate to sites regulated in the United States, Corfman said.

"'That's just common sense. If you were gaming, or going to play poker, where would you rather play?' Corfman said. 'I think you'd all rather play in a regulated environment, and you'd rather play in the United States than some overseas jurisdiction.'..."

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