Will Increased Lobbying for Legalized Online Poker Succeed in 2012?

The Poker Players Alliance is lobbying extra hard

The Poker Players Alliance is lobbying extra hard

One thing is certain, the U.S. Congress moves slowly. It took more than a decade for them to succeed in shutting down online poker in the nation and it may take just as long to get it up and running full speed. Yes, it’s true that the U.S. Department of Justice (

DoJ) has helped to facilitate web-based gaming by ruling that the Federal Wire Act covers only sports betting.

And that’s led to the Nevada Gambling Commission approving the rules and regulations for the licensing of online poker in the state. But even best estimates from the Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Mark Liparelli have online poker being played in the state sometime in 2013.


Lobbying Heating Up

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has started to redouble their efforts in lobbying Congress and Executive Director John Pappas notes, “The writing is on the wall. The states are going to do this. The first three or four months of the year is going to be pretty important for Congress to act.” Pappas’ statement is a warning to congress that they need to act fast or the states will leave them in the proverbial online poker dust.

Also, Washington DC continues to push towards offering online poker and blackjack. It’s projected that within the District of Columbia both will be available sometime this April. Ironically, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, who vetoed an online poker bill just last year due to it’s purported illegality, has said that his state stands to become the bastion for Internet gambling.

However, many doubt that online poker and other forms of gambling can flourish in individual states. A federal law that allows for online states to cross state lines is needed. That does not exist at this point. One thing that will cause the federal and state governments to move forward is the promise of new tax revenues from the online gaming industry. Many legislators and government heads offer expansive numbers when it comes to revenue projections related to online poker and other types of gambling.


State of Poker Legislation

Joe Barton, Republican from Texas, is sponsor of the Barton Bill

Joe Barton, Republican from Texas, is sponsor of the Barton Bill

Although many try to be optimistic, the fact is there are many problems with proposed legislation. The Barton Bill has been seen by many as the best chance of getting poker legislation passed but many online poker players fear the bill due to the fact that it appears to give the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) more strength. Any site that does not have a license issued by the federal government will be subject to being shut down and prosecuted. Plus, there are various stipulations that limit the industry.

Also, many of the Native American tribes are unhappy with the legislation as they see themselves unable to compete against big online companies. Even the bigwigs in Las Vegas are unable to agree on the effect of the legislation.

Finally, even if the Barton Bill does pass the Senate, it is expected to face a lot of opposition in the House of Representatives. The House is controlled by various Republicans who stoutly oppose all forms of gambling. Two powerful legislators, Eric Cantor, the house majority leader, and Spencer Bachus, can ensure that online poker legislation never sees the light of day.


Some Sites Are Still Accepting Players

Online poker is now available to U.S. players. That’s because there are still a limited number of sites taking Americans, including the Merge Network, which includes Lock Poker and Carbon Poker, Winning Poker Network and Bovada Poker.  Until the federal government legalizes online poker, these sites will be poised to serve players in the United States.


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Posted by on Jan 30 2012. Filed under Online Poker News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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