Federal Online Poker Measure Could be Voted on This Month

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Federal Online Poker Measure Could be Voted on This Month

It’s not dead yet, so says Texas Republican Congressman Joe Barton.  A measure to legalize online poker federally in the US could be voted on this month (July 2012).


“We’ve got the votes in the House if it comes up for a vote,” Barton said.

HR 2366—the Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2011 – would essentially make online poker exempt from previous prohibition passed in 2006. 

Whether that will help with payment processing remains to be seen.  The online horseracing sector in the US, exempt from the 2006 legislation, still encounters difficulties processing credit cards.  Banks have already stated they do not have the ability to decipher the “good” from the “bad” Web gambling.  HR 2366, in its current form, would still make online sports betting and casino gambling illegal.

Failure to pass the measure during the month of July will not render HR 2366 dead, however.  Barton noted that such legislation could be passed during the “lame duck” session immediately following this year’s Presidential Election in November, perhaps as an attachment to another bill.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reportedly already has similar legislation drawn up. 

Throughout much of this year, the focus has been on individual states passing their own laws regulating Web poker.  Last month, Delaware became the second state after Nevada to legalize the activity within its borders while hinting at future multi-state compacts.  The Federal Government may fear being left out of the equation.




What They Are Saying on the Message Boards


Originally Posted by Skallagrim


 You are right. You are so right that even the lobbyists and congressional staffers also realize you are right. No bill that only benefits Nevada is going to get passed.

A bill may get passed that benefits the Nevada interests if it also has something for other interests. That something may be access to certain new areas denied before, that something may be denial of access for everyone to certain new areas that would otherwise compete with existing interests.

Its a tough deal to create. It was too tough to get done in the short time frame between the 2010 election and the 2011 new Congress. But Reid and Kyl and their staff and the lobbyists for the various interests have been working hard at the deal since that time.

Pappas said he thinks the deal is basically done and I do not know anyone with better "inside the beltway" information on this issue than John Pappas.

The terms of the deal will become public when Reid and Kyl want them to become public, and so far few of the details have been leaked. But the grand scheme is public knowledge: Interstate poker gets allowed (subject to individual state approval) with NV interests having a bit of a head start but other states able to get on board; other casino games are prohibited interstate; tribes get to participate in poker and preserve their exclusivity regarding other casino games without new state deals; states get to control most of what goes on intrastate with certain limitations but those limitations will still allow state lotteries some expanded access and some protection from out of state competition; small casinos and tribes are protected from new online competition in the area that matters most, access to online slots, and are given other ways to have a presence online.

And ... oh wait, if I want to add more I will have betray confidences. I should do that right, and perhaps jeopardize the whole deal because then maybe DQ will stop calling me names ... LOL, even if that mattered to me for a fraction of a second we all know DQ is incapable of curing his skallagrim fixation. DQ's fixation is so great he apparently hasn't realized that I never respond to him directly. Or perhaps he knows he can ask questions that I will not respond to so that then he can complain that I did not respond. He enjoys that sort of thing it appears.

Also, I do not know that many confidences or details. The big players are keeping this close to the vest for a reason. And the probable reason is, as is the case with most legislation these days, they want to present it as "done deal" so as to precisely avoid further picking at the deal by outsiders like those who, for example, hope to gain financial advantage from selling online casino marketing software and strategy to state lottery commissions.






Originally Posted by bippitybop


The fundamental difference in what has changed is the DOJ opinion, and that in my estimation is the key difference between now and other times when we got our hopes up.

Remember that the DOJ opinion said only sports betting was illegal online, which also opens the door for online slots, blackjack, backgammon, roulette, craps, whatever the hell else someone can make money off of.

If people think interests like the tribes didn't sit up and pay attention to that then I don't know what to say... because that is what is going to bring them to the negotiating table and allowing online poker. Because poker is a very small source of their revenue compared to these other games in which they play as the house and not a third-party taking small dollars from the pot. They are going to allow poker so that they don't have to give up their monopoly on these other games. And the reason they are going to have to allow poker is that the casinos and Harry Reid and the other people on our side aren't stupid enough to give something for nothing. That isn't how politics is done.

This understanding extends to other interests who now have to come to the table - the Republicans who want to nanny state and might not have anything against online poker but do preach the evils of gambling in the pit, etc, etc, etc.

Sorry, but the PPA is not overplaying their hand to get a donation, or whatever their motive might be for overestimating their chances after November. And I'm not a PPA fanboy. I am just taking this all at face value. The DOJ opinion is going to make all the difference, because now the door is open and the other side is going to have to come to the table if they want to have any chance of closing it again.

The argument most people seem to be making for why it won't pass is that too many interests have had too little time to work it out. But the thing is, the more states like Delaware and Nevada that pass bills, the worse it gets for these other interests. They have a limited window of time to make sure that they get their share before more states come into the fold and they are in an even worse position, as they are in a position where gambling is being expanded and they have no control over it. Don't you get it? They want the control. And they want it before its too late. So they are going to come to the table and work it out now, while they still can. Its great that Delaware is doing this and I hope more do.

P.S. What the **** do state lotteries have to do with anything? I didn't realize that government entities were of the type that even had a seat at the table. Maybe I am missing something, but I thought government programs usually shut up and took what the congress gave them. I'm no lawyer, but wouldn't that violate the anti-lobbying act (again, not a lawyer)?

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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