There’s a Strange Online Gambling Bill in the New Hampshire House



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Sometimes news goes overlooked* for one reason or another or none at all. Perhaps in the case of New Hampshire, the news isn’t really all that big of a deal because it is unlikely nothing will come of it, but hey, it’s still interesting. In early January, Republican Representative Eric Schleien introduced HB562 into the state’s House of Representatives, a bill which would decriminalize online gambling in New Hampshire. It was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and was given a public hearing at the end of last month.

Here’s what the bill does not do: regulate online gambling.

But it decriminalizes it, right? Right! But that is literally all the bill does. New Hampshire’s gambling laws define “illegal” gambling and then list a few exceptions, specific forms of gambling that, while technically qualifying under the definition of illegal gambling, are separated out and given exemptions. HB562 would add online gambling as one of these exempted forms of gambling.

The bills “methodology” reads as follows:

This bill exempts gambling done over the Internet from gambling offenses under RSA 647.  The Department of Justice to date has neither investigated nor prosecuted online gaming offenses and therefore does not expect this bill to have any impact on expenditures.  To the extent this bill legalizes a form of gambling, it may have an indeterminable impact on lottery and charitable gaming revenue.  Lottery and charitable gaming revenue is credited to the lottery fund, with net revenues after Lottery Commission expenditures being credited to the state education trust fund.

So, unlike other states that have made or are looking to make online gambling – including poker – legal, this bill proposes no regulations whatsoever. It literally just makes it legal to both offer online gambling and partake in the gambling on the interweb. New Hampshire wouldn’t even take any taxes from it if the bill were to somehow become law.

It won’t become law because how in the world would the New Hampshire legislature say, “Yeah, you know what? We think people should be allowed to play poker online, but New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada, are chumps what with all their rules and tax benefits and what-not. We’re just going to keep it simple and not worry about any of that.”

But let’s just go ahead and pretend that HB562 does become law. It would seem that all of a sudden, people in New Hampshire would be permitted to join the international online poker community on global sites like PokerStars.com or partypoker.com. That wouldn’t do much for those sites as New Hampshire has a small population, but quite literally would open up a whole new world to poker players in the Granite State.

*Like all the terrorist attacks that Donald Trump thinks the media has ignored. Sad!

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