Two of the 20 senators who voted against a bill last night that would legalize internet poker in Iowa chided their colleagues this morning as the senate started its day. Senator Brad Zaun, a Republican from Urbandale, was first to bring up the issue.
“I don’t know if any of you on this floor know that Internet gambling currently is illegal,” Zaun said this morning. “It’s illegal in the United States and I can’t believe what we did last night.”
None of the opponents of the bill spoke last night during senate debate of the legislation, which passed with support from 29 senators. Officials estimate the state could collect as much as $13 million more in gambling taxes if the state-licensed casinos start running Internet poker games and Zaun suggests that’s the main motivation for supporters of the bill.
“Are we that desperate for money?” Zaun asked this morning.
Senator Randy Feenstra, a Republican from Hull, was the other gambling critic to speak this morning about the evils of Internet gambling.
“Yesterday, what I heard in the arguments were, you know, we’re doing this, we’re creating protocols to make it safe. We’re making it safe to create online gaming,” Feenstra said. “So, what’s the next step? What about the treadmill that we’re on? Is it o.k. to make prostitution safe?”
Feenstra and Zaun also resurrected complaints about TouchPlay, the Iowa Lottery’s experiment to sell tickets from devices that looked like slot machines. Iowa legislators voted in the spring of 2006 to ban the machines.