PPA acquires copy of Reid Kyl online poker bill

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Oct 20, 2012 Posted in Legal Poker News, Online Poker News | No Comments »

Last month a summary of the Reid/Kyl bill that would legalize online poker at the federal level while at the same time placing harsh restrictions on all other forms of Internet gambling was leaked to the public. It now appears that the Poker Players Alliance has a full version of the bill, as Rich Muny has stated that he has seen the bill and it only differs from the summary in one key area.

Before I get to the difference from the summary to the actual bill let me first talk about what this bill would do. Basically, the Reid/Kyl bill would “carve-out” online poker from all other forms of Internet gambling, allowing US residents to freely play the game online, while putting in place more restrictions and penalties for other forms of online gaming like casino games (Roulette, Craps, and Blackjack) as well as sports-betting.

According to Rich Muny, who acts as the VP of Player Relations for the PPA, the initial summary contained some vague language regarding penalties for players participating in games at unlicensed sites:

“To deter U.S. players from patronizing illegal sites, the bill makes explicit that any property involved in or traceable to a gambling transaction in violation of the new act (including winnings) is subject to forfeiture.”

Muny says this language has now been removed and replaced by the prohibition of players seeking restitution should their funds be seized at an unlicensed online poker room: “It’s very clear and explicit that there are no criminal penalties for players. They knew we would likely oppose a bill with player penalties and were willing to answer us on that.”

The bill has been floating around the Senate for a couple of months now, but Republican support has been very slim, with only Arizona Senator John Kyl and Nevada Senator Dean Heller signing on from the Republican side. While Kyl’s endorsement is extremely odd considering he was one of the architects of the UIGEA legislation passed in 2006, both Kyl and Heller can point to the restrictions on other forms of gaming as a win for their cause, and cite the recent rulings that poker is a game of skill for the carve-out.

With states nearing legalization, the federal government has to act fast if it intends to ban online casino games and sports-betting, and it seems a carve-out for online poker is the only way this could ever be accomplished. Even with this “carrot” to dangle in front of republicans, Rich Muny is still only cautiously optimistic that the Reid/Kyl bill can be passed in the Lame Duck session, giving it 50/50 odds –my own guesstimate would be far lower than Muny’s.

However, the important part of the story is that a clear strategy is being presented, with a way to gain Republican support for what would normally be an antithetical policy for the political party; offer them restrictions on the worst forms of gambling while carving out an exemption for online poker.

 

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