The Status of US Online Poker Regulations

December 26, 2012

Senator Harry Reid’s online poker bill died for the year 2012 during the Friday lame-duck session of the Legislature. This marked the official expiry of federal efforts by Congress to pass laws on internet poker, and is perhaps the end of the last chance at regulation by the federal government before online gambling is taken on by the states.

Speaking to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Senate Majority Leader’s Chief of Staff, David Krone, explained that time has ran out for the Nevada Senator in pushing for the establishment of  Internet poker licensing and regulation in 2012. Krone implied Reid’s intention to try again next year, though optimism was far from apparent.

“Our goal is to definitely try again next year but Senator Reid’s feeling is that after a while there comes a time when you’ve lost momentum, you’ve lost the consensus you’ve built,” he said, adding, “There will be a window next year, but I don’t see it going long.”

The effort during the lame-duck session appeared like the best and last chance for creation of an online gambling federal structure prior to the states striking out and making their own systems and regulations. In Nevada, companies are already acquiring licenses for the State’s online poker, and the operations are set to start running within the New Year’s first half.

This year legislation was passed by Delaware for full online gambling, to be offered through the State lottery. New Jersey is waiting for next week to pass legislation that allows full online gambling by Atlantic City casinos. New Jersey and Nevada aspire to influence other states into approving online poker and allowing US players to play within their borders, and in return the states get tax revenue.

John Pappas, the Poker Player Alliance’s executive director, had something to say about the disappointing end to a year full of optimism, “It is an extremely disappointing end to a year where tremendous progress was made… I am most upset for the players, who have been calling on Congress for years to pass an Internet poker law that protects consumers, restores their freedoms and raises revenue. While I don’t think these voices have fallen on deaf ears, I am discouraged that Congress could not coalesce around a solution in the wake of the ongoing fiscal crisis.”


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