Federal Poker Legislation Hits A Hurdle

There seems to be very little chance that Congress will pass a federal online poker legislation law anytime soon. In fact it’s unlikely we’ll see anything concrete in the next session of 2013 either.

The way things are looking is that there seems to be the likelihood for a state by state type of legislation after the disappointing result of the latest session of Congress. This was despite the expectations of Senators Reid and Kyl and the continued campaign of the American Gaming Association.

There seems to have been a few feathers ruffled in terms of the traditional ‘land gambling’ traditionalists, mainly Republican conservatives who extol the virtues of protection of land gambling and an opposition to any mention of internet gambling. There is even a manifesto in place specifically to address the issue. This is no surprise considering that one of their biggest benefactors is the casino owner, Shelden Aldersen. He is of course, categorically against any form of legislation, federal or otherwise.

According to Stutz, all the different gambling fraternities need to be on the same hymn sheet if there is any chance of getting this legislation pushed through. This will be extremely difficult and the enormity of the task was highlighted recently when just this month, seven directors travelled to Washington to officially oppose any attempt to facilitate online legislation. The North American Association of State and Provincial lotteries formally oppose the proposals of Reid and Kyl. To make matters worse, the bill was subsequently opposed by the National Association of Governors, further providing a significant political obstacle in the way of internet gambling legislation.

However, there are some rays of hope especially after the Department of Justice reversed a decision pertaining to the ‘Wire Act’. This effectively led to allowing the use of online gambling in the absence of online sports betting. What followed was an influx of lucrative deals with online gambling companies both domestic and European. In fact Nevada is already ahead of the game in terms of intrastate online licensing with 17 gambling companies already been given the green light to proceed. We expect to see the first up and running in 2013.

It should also be noted that New Jersey is also making progress after just passing an online licensing bill after the first was side lined by the governor. It’s now awaiting a signature by Chris Christie.

With Delaware, California, Iowa and Massachusetts also pushing further with proposals, it seems unlikely that online gambling will be legislated federally and instead managed on a state level.