Congress is headed into recess, and neither online poker bill will probably pass.
Representative Joe Barton’s effort are stalled in committee, and a proposal by Senators Harry Reid and Jon Kyl has yet to even make it into committee.
Two Online Poker Bills Walked Into The Legislative Branch
Both bills share the same name: Gambling Prohibition, Poker Protection and Strengthening of UIGEA Act of 2012. Currently, the Reid/Kyl proposal is the front-runner, but sentiments are decidedly mixed. Some feel it will usher in a new era of responsible Internet gaming in the U.S. Others are concerned it will hinder online gaming de-regulation efforts.
Opponents of the Reid/Kyl bill don’t like that it prohibits all forms of Internet gambling, except horse racing and online poker.
The Reid/Kyl bill would also penalize parties that engaged in online gaming activities post-The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act, or UIGEA — an inclusion designed to mitigate barriers to entry. It could, however, spell doom for larger online poker operations, like Poker Stars.
The Reid/Kyl bill would amend the 1961 Wire Act, 1970 UIGEA, and Illegal Gambling Business Act (IGBA) by broadening the language to include online gaming.
Government Would Have To Establish Online Poker Oversight Office
If the Reid/Kyl bill is passed, it would rescind the December 2011 decision that the Wire Act is only applicable to sports betting. It would also prompt the creation of an Office of Online Poker Oversight, whose duties would include administering a list of standards, issuing licenses, and monitoring state and Indian gaming. In the case of violations, licenses could be revoked and fines of up to $750,000 could be levied.
Although online poker players are on pins and needles regarding future legislation, the chances of any laws passing this year are rapidly diminishing.