Progress for US Internet Gambling Regulation Effort

October 20, 2011

A step in the right direction for legal online poker could be made as soon as next week when the House Subcommittee for Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade will have a hearing on Internet gambling Tuesday. This committee is a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and consists of 14 republicans and nine democrats, who will debate Congressman Joe Barton’s Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act (HR 2366).

Executive Director of the Poker Player’s Alliance (PPA), John Pappas, says “The hearing may be more about Internet gaming, but the Barton bill will be hard to ignore given that Barton sits on the subcommittee.”

If passed, HR 2366 would legalize and regulate Internet poker in the US by giving state-licensed agencies the green light to act as regulatory authorities. The biggest players in land-based casinos, Nevada and New Jersey, would get the first go ahead to issue gaming licenses. The PPA is encouraging its members whose US reps are seated on the subcommittee to communicate their support of the bill to the subcommittee in hopes that the subcommittee will also be in support of online poker.

In addition, a bipartisan supercommittee, whose purpose is to obtain money for the government is being urged by Congressman Barney Frank to support regulation and legalization of Internet gambling as a means of earning funds for the government.

“Several of us are trying to get it into the supercommittee,” says Frank. “It would create $40 billion [in revenue] over 10 years.” While there are no guarantees, it is a sign of progress.

Pappas is optimistic of the supercommittee. He says, “The supercommittee has been very receptive. I don’t think every member of the committee is making this their priority, but there are benefits of revenue and consumer protection.” He also believes that the open debate is a good idea. He says, “This committee hasn’t had an opportunity to examine the issues. It gives lawmakers a chance to say they’ve discussed it.”


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