PPA Check-In with Rich Muny: Legislation Abroad
The fight to legalize online poker in the United States has reached a tipping point, with states pushing forward with their own online poker bills, while the federal government remains in gridlock. Still, the only complete legislative victory for poker players will be when federal legislation is passed.
Every week the Poker Players Alliance Vice President of Player Relations Rich Muny will give us the latest information on the fight to legalize poker in the United States at both the state and federal level.
This week Rich talked about the new law in Florida before the discussion moved to international online poker legislative efforts and potential partnerships with US states.
PNB: What are the implications for online poker in the Florida law that bans electronic gambling?
RM: A federal investigation into Allied Veterans of the World, an Internet gaming café operator that billed itself as a charitable organization for veterans, found that the operator gave just two percent of its profits to veterans’ groups. About 60 people were arrested in connection with the racketeering investigation into the charity. The investigation and arrests prompted Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll to resign from office over her ties with the group.
The political pressure to take action drove the legislature to fast-track HB155 (link), a bill to ban Internet café gaming. Florida Governor Rick Scott signed it into law.
As this bill was rushed through the process with what was described as “dizzying speed,” it has had unintended consequences. Sadly, ClubWPT pulled out of the Sunshine State when it took effect. It remains to be seen if others will follow.
Now that these lawmakers have gained their political cover by rushing this bill through, I expect cooler heads to prevail as we push for amendments to this law to permit subscription-type poker sites and, perhaps, even licensed and regulated real money online poker. There was little anyone could do to stop that runaway train, but there’s plenty we can do to advocate for a fix.
PNB: Australia is exploring legalizing and regulating online poker; can measures like these from around the globe be used to help convince US lawmakers, and does the PPA play any role in potential legislation outside of the US?
RM: Actions from around the globe can be used to convince US lawmakers to take action. Many US lawmakers seem to think Internet poker is a new idea. Explaining that Europe has had licensed online poker for over a decade helps our case greatly.
PPA doesn’t play a direct role in non-US legislation. We are happy to discuss strategy with offshore advocacy groups and to otherwise help them with ideas and other consulting.
PNB: With Nevada and Delaware exploring inter-state online poker options, questions about potential international compacts have come up on social media and on the poker forums. Can you envision states partnering with foreign nations in the future and what would that process look like?
RM: It’s possible. The New Jersey legislation includes provisions for possible future inclusion of partnering with foreign nations, in fact. If it does happen, I envision a process where U.S. players have clear, guaranteed consumer protections.
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