Federal Online Gambling Legislation Introduced
A new bill that seeks to regulate both online poker as well as online versions of traditional casino games has been introduced at the federal level by New York Republican Representative Peter King. The bill bears some resemblance to a similar measure that was put forward back in 2011.
PPA lauds new legislation in press release
Poker rights lobbying group the Poker Players Alliance, or PPA, was quick to cheer the new legislation, praising it for, amongst other things, containing strict anti-fraud measures and earmarking funds to help fight problem gambling.
Former Senator Alphonse D’Amato, a PPA Chairman, wrote in a news release, “On behalf of the PPA membership and millions of poker players in the United States, I thank Congressman King for his commitment to protecting Americans’ freedom to play poker on the Internet.”
“States are already moving to regulate online gaming. In order to avoid a patchwork of state laws that limit player pools and provides consumer protections only to Americans in those states, it is time for Congress to step up and pass federal legislation,” D’Amato wrote.
States can opt out if desired
The bill also allows for states to opt out of online gambling if they so choose, an issue that has been concern in states that take a more unfavorable attitude toward Internet-based wagering, and in many cases, any form of gambling. While the majority of the nation’s fifty states permit at least one form of gambling whether it be a lottery, tribal casinos, or video wagering machines, there are two in the United States in which there is no legal form of gambling – those two states being Utah and Hawaii.
So far, three states have passed laws that will permit residents to place wagers via their home computers and eventually, mobile devices as well. Delaware and New Jersey have passed comprehensive Internet gambling bills that, much like the new bill introduced at the federal level, allow for a variety of casino games in addition to online poker.
By contrast, Nevada, the state that has the distinction of being the first to offer real-money online betting, only sanctions the game of online poker. Nevada’s first real money online poker site went live at the end of April.
No success yet for federal legislation
The past couple of years have seen many ups and downs for fans of online poker and for those who have hoped to see action on the matter of Internet gambling on the national front. So far there has been little legislative success with regard to the issue, with the most recent attempt to pass such a bill failing at the end of the last congressional session.
That bill, the Reid/Kyl Bill, was a poker-only measure whose collapse was largely attributed to a dearth of GOP support as well as a lack of attention owing to the “fiscal cliff” crisis that was consuming legislators at the time. Whether this bill will meet a similar fate is a story yet to be written, but is undoubtedly one that will receive quite a bit of attention from the gambling media and those who wish to see progress toward regulated Internet betting in the US.
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