Utah has been one of the only states in the United States that’s completely against gambling. Utah has never allowed any legal gambling to take place within the states borders and they don’t plan on having any gambling in the future either. Gary Herbert is the Governor in Utah and he just signed HB108, which means that the new bill has become law in the state.
HB108 will ensure that gambling doesn’t take place in the state of Utah anytime in the future. With the rush of states looking to regulate online poker at the state level, Utah has been doing the exact opposite. Once the US DoJ changed their stance on the current wire laws Utah decided they would opt-out of any future federal online gambling laws right now.
Part of HB108 states that if federal gambling laws are passed Utah would opt-out if legally allowed. The USA has already said on numerous occasions that states would be given the ability to opt-out if federal regulation ever happens in the first place. Utah doesn’t want online poker or any form of gambling to be played by the residents living in the state.
Utah has always taken a tough stance on gambling and they aren’t going to let up anytime in the future. If you were hoping to play online poker in the future and you live in Utah you’d have to move to another state. It will now also be a misdemeanour if you try and play online poker in the state of Utah. Initially the state of Utah wanted to make it a federal offense, but thanks to lobbying done by the PPA and other organizations it will only be a misdemeanour.
Now that Utah has passed a bill ensuring online poker won’t be legal in the state it will be interesting to see if other states in the country follow Utah’s lead. There are a few other states that don’t like gambling and I’m sure other states may consider making online poker illegal. I’m surprised that Utah made playing online poker a misdemeanour, but now that the law has been signed by the Governor in Utah it’s important that you don’t try playing online poker anywhere right now.
The Poker Players Alliance tried lobbying in Utah to prevent the bill from being passed by the legislature, but they were unable to get the bill stopped. Some changes were made to the bill to lessen the punishment for breaking certain new laws, but the new bill is definitely a step backward for the PPA and their fight to regulate online poker in the United States.