New Online Poker Legislation Introduced in the House of Representatives

Bill looks to both regulate online poker and curb other forms of internet gambling

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New Online Poker Legislation Introduced in the House of Representatives
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Are the wheels in motion for a federal overhaul of the online poker business?

According to a release from the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, some members of the house are looking to regulate the game.

Today, “influential member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce” Joe Barton introduced the Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2011 on the House floor. Besides being quite the mouthful, the bill would, among other things, assign regulatory powers to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Barton is a Republican Congressman from Texas, but the bill has bi-partisan support. It is being co-sponsored by Shelly Berkley (D-NV), John Campbell (R-CA) and Steve Cohen (D-TN).

Here’s how it would work: The U.S. Commerce Dept. would become the overall regulators of this brand new industry. The bill would leave some power to the states, as their individual commissions would have the job of issuing the licenses to qualified applicants. To be a qualified applicant, operators would have to agree to certain regulations that would help protect against things like gambling abuse and such.

And of course the taxes collected from America’s love for online poker would hopefully “stimulate U.S. economic expansion.” You want new jobs and more revenue, people? Online poker is the way to do it says Barton.

According to market research, regulation of all forms of internet gambling would generate $67 billion over five years and create over 25,000 new jobs. Sounds pretty good to me.

Now, before you run along and get too giddy about this bill, it has one serious flaw in the eyes of some – the prohibition of credit card use to fund internet gambling. Here’s what Michael Waxman of Safe and Secure has to say about that:

“It simply doesn’t make sense to limit the use of credit cards for those seeking to gamble online. Consumer protections for users of credit cards are much greater than those involving most other forms of payment. If someone is interested in using funds from their credit card to gamble online, they are not going to be stopped from doing so. They’ll find less transparent mechanisms to move funds from cards to other payment mechanisms. The solution is to have broad consumer protections in place overall, and the law needs to require that in any case.”

Amen, brother.

Is there a real chance that this bill could gain enough support to survive? It’s tough to tell at this point. It’s important to note as well that this isn’t the only internet gambling bill on the table right now. H.R. 2230, introduced by three members of both parties, would charge a 2% tax at the federal level on internet gambling and would give the states the option of imposing an additional 6%.

Online poker has been on the minds of many since the DOJ seizures of many popular sites dubbed “Black Friday.” ICE seized even more domains recently.

As we are all well aware, people are going to find a way to play poker online. I guess the question becomes, does the government want to make money on it? Let us know what you think about the regulation of online poker.

New Online Poker Legislation Introduced in the House of Representatives
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  • http://marktiernansolicitors.ie Mark Tiernan (Solicitor)

    The internet is in need of more regulation and protection in many areas. The era of unmonitored and unrestricted activity is closing because so many people are breaking the law online, which really wrecks it for everyone else.

  • http://MyNYCBirthday.com Bill Gaines

    I think I have to agree with Waxman on this. If there is one thing that is known, those with a strong propensity to gamble are going to do so, no matter how they have to do it. To me, it would make more sense to place max limits on a credit card per day, versus allowing that same person to just go to an ATM an pull funds at the credit card’s highest interest rate, and then place them directly back in the same account. I would assume the prohibition on credit card use is a double-edged sword for credit card companies: they will miss out on the high interest rates if the cards were used, but at the same time will face cash withdraw issues with a failure to repay. I’m not sure what the solution here is, in truth. If we are saying adults are responsible enough to gamble, then I guess we have to assume those same adults should be able to manage their own credit cards and use them in a like manner.

  • http://www.mindmagic123.com hypnotherapy los angeles

    Only another 65 billion added to the government payroll. Government now comprises some 40% of national expenditure. The 25,00 jobs are more non-productive employment. All this detracts from investment in actual wealth production, dragging the US deeper from near bankrupcy to actual bankrupcy.

  • http://www.nochek.net Nochek

    This has obviously been in the works for years. Let the poker industry build up, get the people hooked, take it away, then regulate and charge for it and give it back to us.

    Our government should not be toying with us. They should not be allowed to decide what is best for us and dole out pieces of candy to make us happy. This is not what they are for.

  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    Considering the state that most government budgets are in now, at all levels, I’d be amazed if this law DIDN’T pass. legal pot is just around the corner too for the same reason.

  • http://myfreelotterypool.com Captain Dano

    Prohibiting victimless activities of any form is not in anyone’s best interest.

  • James Bryan

    We are a free society ” I think” so why can’t we use our hard earned money to do as we wish!! I’m what is known as a grinder, which is a small stakes player. I’ve played for 3 months for 25 USD and had alot of fun. After a hard days work I get home, play a 27 player tournament for 2.00 and enjoy it tremendously. Why can’t we enjoy the same liberties as other countries??

    I’m always wondering if the site I was playing on before ” Black Friday” was always legal. All the sites are outside the USA, they are regulated by someone I think??? Its best to make online poker legal in the USA, open USA sites and regulate them within the USA, keep our money in the USA and pay a little tax. A LITTLE TAX!!!!

    Holdem Grinder

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