PokerStars Reacts to Successful Markup of H.R. 2267

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

With speculation running rampant that the world’s leading online poker room, PokerStars.com, might suffer from any new legislation in the United States, specifically H.R. 2267, that company on Thursday announced it welcomed Wednesday’s 41-22 vote.  H.R. 2267 would license and tax online poker establishments in the States with one important caveat:  Those companies that continued to accept U.S. customers following passage of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) would be excluded from licensing.  PokerStars continued to welcome U.S. customers post-UIGEA.

PokerStars announced in a statement that it wholeheartedly supports the efforts of Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass) and the bill’s proponents.

This bill represents the most significant US legislative accomplishment in the history of the internet gaming industry. The Committee vote was one step in a road to passage of H.R. 2267 in the US Congress. Further steps are required and a great deal of hard work for the legislators lies in store.

It is important to note that H.R. 2267 was passed out of Committee with the addition of certain amendments. Two in particular warrant additional comment:  

Representative Brad Sherman offered language accepted by the Committee which would in part render as unsuitable for licensure any person who fails to certify in writing that it and its affiliated business entities have never committed an intentional felony violation of Federal or State gambling laws.

Ranking Member Spencer Bachus and Representative Michelle Bachmann also sponsored an amendment, accepted by the Committee, which would in part render unsuitable for licensing any person who knowingly participated in illegal internet gambling activity after enactment of the UIGEA in 2006.

PokerStars had this to say regarding such amendments: “The UIGEA by its clear terms shall not be construed as “altering, limiting or extending any Federal or State law or Tribal-State compact prohibiting, permitting, or regulating gambling within the United States”. Therefore, in light of the more comprehensive view on this point set forth in Rep. Sherman’s amendment, the Bachus/Bachmann amendment, with its UIGEA timeline, appears redundant (as Ranking Member Bachus himself observed during the mark up).  

“Nevertheless, PokerStars supports the provisions in both amendments as neither would adversely affect the availability of a license for a respected operator such as PokerStars. As reflected in legal opinions provided to PokerStars, its activities in the US are and at all times have been lawful.”  

Paul Telford, PokerStars’ General Counsel stated that “PokerStars maintains its strong support for H.R. 2267 and encourages the full House and ultimately the Senate to move quickly to secure passage during the current Congressional term. PokerStars, a pioneer in operating online poker under stringent regulatory frameworks, looks forward to working with incumbent and new operators in promoting a safe and healthy online poker industry in the United States, as it currently does under similar licensing models in Italy and France”.    

PokerStars has lobbied heavily for legalization of online poker in the U.S..

Ace King, Gambling911.com

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