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H.R 2282 / The Internet Gambling Regulation, Enforcement and Consumer Protection Act of 2013

H.R 2282, known as The Internet Gambling Regulation, Enforcement and Consumer Protection Act of 2013, is another attempt to legalize online poker at the federal level. This 134 page bill reminds be of Barton’s H.R 2666 that recently failed (but will be reintroduced soon).

The following is a summary of the bill and what it means to operators and poker players.

H.R 2282 was introduced by Peter King (R-N.Y.) on June 6th, 2013. If passed, it would legalize online gambling with the exception of sportsbetting, due to it’s conflict with the Wire Act.

All bills are written and introduced with the objective of solving problems. H.R. 2282 is no different. Here is what King wants to accomplish:

  • Protect consumers (and their funds) from unregulated, offshore companies.
  • Prevent underage gambling.
  • Ensure that operators are licensed and regulated.
  • Provide tools to assist law enforcement and banks to prevent illegal gambling activities.
  • Generate revenue for the states, tribes and the country as a whole.
  • Combat and shut down criminal activities (via the internet) including money laundering and fraud.

Now, while the bill would do great things for poker players and the country, many feel that the bill is as good as dead. Senator Harry Reid is one person that feels that way, stating that the passing of this bill is less likely because, “It basically authorizes everything, poker, 21, craps, you name it.”

Regardless, we thought it would be interesting to break this bill down so that us mere humans can better understand how it would affect operators and players. You’ll find the most important pieces broken down into cliff notes below.

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How Will H.R. 2282 Affect the Government, States & Indian Tribes?

Since this is a federal bill proposal, it will affect our government as a whole, as well as individual states and Indian tribes. Here’s how:

  • An Office of Internet Gambling Oversight would be established within the Treasury Department. They would establish the criteria for state and tribal governments for licensing online gambling operators.
  • States and / or Indian tribes would be able to opt-out of the federal system. And they would still be allowed to run their own intrastate program within their own borders (separate from the country). To opt-out the state and/or tribe needs to notify the Treasury, or pass their own (opt-out) law.
  • Overall jurisdiction will remain with the federal government. However, they will rely on states and tribes for licensing and enforcement (to federal standards).
  • Licensing bodies will need to have regulations in place to prevent underage gambling and to enforce fair play. Programs will need to be developed (with minimum standards) and put into action for compulsive and responsible gambling, and self-exclusion.
  • H.R. 2282 will revise the Public Health Services Act to allow federal funds to be used for the treatment of gambling addiction. The act currently does not.
  • Existing state laws, including Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, and US bills like the Interstate Horseracing Act, will be grandfathered in. They will not be changed by the passing of this bill.
  • A list of data will be collected and displayed. This includes what games players choose to play, the speed in which they play, the denominations, amounts wagered, lines or hands played, characteristics of games played, the gender, region and age of players, etc. Pretty much everything but the name, address and bank details of each individual player will be included.

How Will H.R. 2282 Affect Operators?

Here is how H.R. 2282 will affect operators.

  • All forms of online gambling will be legalized, except for sportsbetting.
  • Only licensed and regulated operators will be allowed to offer online gaming.
  • All casinos, tribes, lotteries, operators, etc. will be treated equally. No one will receive preferential treatment in regards to licensing.
  • Unlicensed operators will face harsh penalties. One of the objectives of H.R. 2282 is to put unlicensed / unregulated companies out of business – forever.
  • Operator’s gaming equipment (servers, software, etc) must be maintained and kept within the boundaries of the USA during the term of their license.
  • The penalties for violating the bill are similar to those outlined in H.R. 2666. This can range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the violation.
  • Operators will need to keep and update a list (daily) of their self-excluded players. This will need to be sent to the Secretary (regularly) to be added / update the master list.
  • This bill prohibits gambling parlors or internet cafes. Computers cannot be aggregated in a public setting for online gambling purposes (and for the charging for the use of said purposes). Violations can lead to < 5 years imprisonment and/or penalties under Title 18 (which is < 3 years and/or fines).

How Does H.R. 2282 Affect Players?

Here is how the bill will affect poker players.

  • Players that are self-excluded will not be able to recover losses or collect winnings stemming from games played while self-excluded.
  • Cheating will not be tolerated. Players caught cheating with bots, collusion, multi-accounting, etc. may face penalties listed under Title 18 and/or < 3 years imprisonment. Cheating devices is vague – it may or may not include the use of hand tracking, data mining or hotkey programs.

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