Disappointing Year for Internet Poker Legislation

December 31, 2012

Poker Players Alliance’s Executive Director, John Pappas summed up the advancements of the internet poker legislation in the US as “disappointing”. Pappas referred in specific to the internet poker bill proposed by Sen. Harry Reid, which could not be passed in the Congress lame duck session on December 28. This decision has essentially dashed the hopes of all the online poker players in the US, who wanted a licensed and regulated online poker market in the country this year.

What does John Pappas have to say?

John Pappas said that he was highly disappointed with the proceedings regarding the internet poker bill in the US. Though incredible advancements were made in context of the bill, nothing concrete happened, he added. He said that he sympathizes with the poker players, who have been trying their best to convince the Congress to pass this online poker bill which protects their freedom and also raises the revenue. However, John Pappas feels that the voices of the players have not fallen on the deaf ears. He said that he feels discouraged that the Congress couldn’t come up with a solution to the current fiscal crisis through poker.

The situation in the US

People who supported Reid’s efforts feel that the US must have passed the legislation through the Congress before any kind of progress is made by the individual states. The supporters feel that if individual states form laws on their own for intrastate internet gambling and poker, it will however, be very tough to create suitable standard of gaming across the gambling board. On the other hand, Nevada has started issuing internet poker licenses. The websites are predicted to operate from early 2013. David Krone, who is Harry Reid’s chief staff, said that Reid would push this bill again in 2013; but his enthusiasm seems to have dimmed slightly. However, none of them are confident about the bill getting passed even in 2013.

On the other hand, regulating online poker is not really an obstacle according to the Chairman of Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC). The politicians at Iowa might soon be reconsidering their decision of licensing internet poker for the residents of Hawkeye State. The regulators at Iowa want to make it very clear that they are ready for the task. The head of the gaming commission at Iowa confirmed the news on December 28.

Slippery situation in Iowa

According to the reports by RadioIowa, IRGC’s Chairman, Jeff Lamberti said that if the legislators of Iowa decide to carry on with internet poker, even his department is ready for it. Lamberti said that online poker is the very next step, when it comes to the progress of gaming. Many states are approving it and have started moving in the same direction, he added.

Online poker was not legalized when it was brought in front of the very conservative Republic State House. This bill, which called for Iowa intrastate internet poker network, would function in unison with approximately twenty land-based casinos in the state. A similar effort involving casino operators is currently being pushed for legislation. Iowa Gaming Association’s Executive Director, Wes Ehrecke, said that online poker should be offered by casinos on platforms licensed by Iowa’s Gaming and Racing Commission. The officials will also make sure that minors are kept out of these portals.

However, there hasn’t been any timetable set for the reintroduction of Iowa internet poker bill which will face questionable prospects in case it reaches Governor Terry Branstad’s desk. Branstad was, however, doubtful about the merits of the poker bill.

Poker bill passed in California

Iowa and the other states in the US are doubtful about the internet poker legislation; the Senator in California has reintroduced the internet poker bill. Roderick Wright, California’s Senator has passed the bill, which will legalize intrastate internet poker with real money gambling. The bill was introduced in the last week of December and there haven’t been hearings regarding the bill until now. The proceedings will continue on January 7. The bill is under the “urgency statute”, meaning that it will take effect as soon as it is passed by the majority vote. However, the bill is expected to take effect only in March 2013.