Federal online poker bill has a new opponent

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Oct 27, 2012 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

The proposed Reid/Kyl bill that has been kicking around the back halls of the senate for the past couple months has online poker players in the US crossing their fingers, but with each passing day the bill, dubbed the “The Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012” by someone who likes their titles to be very specific, is becoming more polarizing, with criticism starting to rain down on multiple fronts.

The bill, which would legalize and regulate online poker across the US (with states having the option to opt-out of participating) would at the same time strengthen restrictions on other forms of online gambling, which brought anti-gambling advocates like John Kyl to the table – Kyl was one of the architects of the UIGEA legislation that passed in 2006 as part of the Safe Ports Act. The bill would basically make it legal to play poker online in the US.

The first criticism this past week came from an unlikely quarter as the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), with the group looking to soften some of the restrictions, namely the 15-month waiting period and to leave the possibility of international players on the table.

“I think we have the obligation to let them know we’re concerned about it,” Pappas said. “They had language in previous bills that was marginally better, automatically opting in I think 15 states that had commercial poker. We’d like to see them go back to that previous language. I don’t think we have much hope they will, but I think we have the obligation to advocate for it.”

While the PPA advocates for some player-friendly concessions, Friday saw a far more powerful and influential group rear their head in opposition to the bill, the National Governors Association. The NGA penned a letter to Congressional leadership stating their opposition to the potential legislation, with the crux of their argument centering on state’s rights, and the loss of revenue at the state level.

“NGA has reviewed draft Senate legislation that would prohibit Internet gaming, whether interstate or intrastate, except off-track horse wagers and licensed online poker. As you know, states that authorize gaming in whatever form derive significant revenues critical to help fund programs for education, senior citizens, military veterans, and other important services.

“The draft would preempt emerging state regulatory authority recently established by the U.S. Justice Department under a reinterpretation of the federal Wire Act, which could restrict state revenues derived from gaming. We oppose the draft Senate legislation in its current form as an unnecessary preemption of state authority.”

It seems that the NGA could be appeased by a larger percentage of revenue from online poker going directly to the states, but this is simply another hurdle that must now be cleared if the Reid/Kyl bill moves forward.


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