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Internet Wagering Citizens Protection Act

The Internet Wagering Citizens Protection Act was drafted in August 2013 by Martin Shapiro.

What makes this bill interesting is that Martin isn’t a congressman. He has no political experience whatsoever. The closest he gets is his duties as the Florida State Director for the PPA, a position he’s held since November 2009. Aside from that he invests in real estate and is a part time poker pro, spending most of his time playing live.

What’s crazy is that he drafted this bill in 3 weeks time. He accomplished this feat by combining several already established bills together and then revising it further based on the feedback he received from players on the 2+2 forums.

What’s more is that he doesn’t expect this bill to pass. What he wants is for lawmakers to use this bill as a model for all future bills.

Given that this bill was created (or mashed together) by a poker player, and was influenced and revised by poker players, using this as a model can only be good for poker players.

Makes sense, right?

Now with the intro out of the way, what you’ll find below are the main points or statutes from this poker bill mash-up.

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The Main Points From the Internet Wagering Citizens Protection Act

Here are the main statutes to pay attention to.

  • The goal is to establish a program for licensing and regulating states and tribes, while protecting consumers from illegal, offshore operators.
  • It would be illegal to operate without a license. Penalties would be intense, and could include what falls under Title 18 and/or 10 years or less of prison.
  • There would be a Federal Overseer. This would be similar to the ‘state agency’ that other bills mention. Their tasks would include overseeing regulatory bodies and ensuring compliance.
  • To be eligible for a license, operators could not have been convicted of a felony or have interest or ownership in any business that is a qualified internet wagering facility, or any other type of regulated gaming business.
  • Operators would only need once license to operate in multiple territories.
  • Vendors are not required to be licensed.
  • Operators cannot accept bets from players outside the US unless rules (from all jurisdictions) are followed.
  • There is a bad actors clause. Prior (criminal) activities, records, previously offering illegal internet wagering or purchase of assets, are all things that can prohibit operators from pursing (and receiving) a license.
  • Fees for licensing are listed. It will be up to the state to determine the costs of performing the application review and background check process.
  • Operators need to ensure that players are 21+.
  • Operators need to ensure that software or systems are in place to record, report and/or deduct taxes, as well as prevent fraud, money laundering and identity theft. Ensuring that games are played fairly and without cheating is important, too.
  • Operator equipment needs to be kept within the boundaries of the USA.
  • Only the regulatory authority or Federal Overseer can ensure that operators are compliant, and are punished if not.
  • If an operator is under review, and it’s possible that their license is revoked, they can continue accepting bets if the courts allow it.
  • If an operator has their license revoked, they will have 30 days to return the funds. Following the 30 day mark remaining funds will need to be placed in an escrow account.
  • Penalties can range from $250-$750,000, depending on whether it’s an individual or corporation being fined. Unlicensed operators will be fined a minimum of $1 million per day they’re not licensed.
  • Regulatory authorities will need regulations in place regarding the development and implementation of compulsive / problem gambling programs. This needs to be in place before licenses can be issued.
  • Operators will need to have information regarding problem gambling, and options for self exclusion, limiting play, deposits and direct mail marketing.
  • Operators will need to monitor customer accounts for signs of problem gambling.
  • Operators will not be liable if self excluded players continue to play while self excluded. Players will not be paid or be able to collect losses either. The funds will instead be deposited into the Internet Wagering Oversight Fund.
  • States will be able to opt-out of this bill. They will first need to notify the Secretary.
  • No other games can be offered under this bill. Operators will face penalties under Title 18 and/or 5 years or less imprisonment.
  • Cheating is prohibited. This may also include software that gives players an advantage, such as HUDs, datamining or odds calculators. Allowed software / devices may need to be registered first before it can be used. Other forms of cheating, like collusion, chip dumping or multi-accounting is prohibited, too.

About Pete Kaminski