The US Federal Government is finally waking up and is now seeking to make online poker legal on a federal level; but be warned it still could take a while to pass on Capitol Hill. The current status is that the bill and the details are not yet finalized and furthermore it hasn’t been formally introduced.

  • Even after all that, it’s still a long way from passing in the upcoming lame duck session in Congress. It’s an election year, so that means that not much will be done until the new president is sworn in to office.
  • In addition to that, most poker bills in the past historically have not gone far on Capitol Hill. This current comprehensive four-page draft will not only legalize online poker, but it will ban other forms of Online Gambling as well.

The online gaming proposal and the details.

In the document reviewed, it specifies a key component and the creation of the “Office of Online Poker Oversight” department, which would set standards to guard against cheaters and protect minors and problem gamblers. There will also be a 16% “online poker activity fee” which licensed operators will have to pay on a monthly basis.

  • Proceeds from online gaming will be directed to states and Indian Tribes. Looks like the Nevada Gaming Board will have initial regulation approval power along with two other entities assigned or created on a Federal Level.
  • The good news is that they've already licensed Nevada online poker operators of land-based casinos "of a certain size and type," or manufacturers of regulated gaming devices.
  • This is good news for all the companies that applied and got in early over the last few months since Nevada started approving regulation and authorizing companies with licenses.

Who are the real winners and losers in proposed legislation?

Internet cafes and other Internet retail shops will be part of the operations that will be banned and watched. Since Nevada’s new online poker legislation is any indication of the approval process, then any companies that were accepting players after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (or UIGEA) law passed, will also have some issues.

  • Right now most of the online gaming sites bettors are making wagers with the offshore betting sites, so lots of companies like the large Vegas land based casinos and 3rd party suppliers including gaming software, affiliates and technology companies would be the real winners.
  • Once these companies get licensed in Nevada, most of the work will be done and the door would surely be open for the intrastate legislation and licensing at the federal level.

Still a long way to go and States want control.

The lawmakers still warn that that the legal document proposed needs an awful lot of work and a lot more discussion. The states will want to maintain control of their own jurisdictions and may me weary of any federal regulation document that is proposed; as they want Internet gaming to be a state matter and the current proposed legislation almost does the exact opposite as it’s written now.

  • At the current moment 16 states are moving towards their own form of legalized online gambling within their borders, including expansions of lottery-style games.
  • The proposed federal legislation imposes limitations on online lotteries. As it’s written now, the legislation dictates that the states would be able to sell tickets online for daily lotteries, but they would be prohibited from developing lottery games resembling Slot Machines.
  • Proponents of the national approach to legislation argued that if states each controlled the laws it would seriously limit online gaming.
  • This new online gaming legislation proposed could take some time as Congress will soon be heading into the federal election recess period and the post election lame duck session would be the ideal time to move the online gaming proposal at that time.
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