We are now seeing a fight-back from the gaming industry in the United States as the country battles against draconian legislation against people being able to play online poker. However there are some states which are going the other way and using the current climate to go further and tighten penalties against those people who run illegal gambling businesses.

Those over at pokernet note how Alabama is one such state that is trying to make it crack down on these businesses. A bill is currently working its way through the state’s legislature that would seriously increase the severity of gambling-related crimes from a misdemeanour to a felony.

As well as this rather punitive measure, the police would also be able to seize property that is being used for illegal gambling operations.

The sponsor of this bill is reported to be anxious that the current fines that are allowed by law are not large enough and, when compared to the size of the revenues collected by gambling institutions, they do not do enough damage.

Alabama doesn’t allow any commercial gaming, although tribal casinos are authorised – yet another example of the ‘one rule here, one rule there’ approach in the USA when it comes to gambling and casinos. With adjacent states sometimes differing massively on their approach to gambling, most state lines are littered with casinos and gambling houses for people state-hopping for a few hours to get their fix.

With states like Utah criminalising web poker sitting close to Nevada, which houses the citadel of poker – Las Vegas – these sorts of laws polarise the United States. But these things happen in federations where each state makes its own laws. The future looks more uncertain, as companies will try to break state barriers and push the laws to their limits in an attempt to reach online players desperate to get back to playing poker.

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