Legal Online Poker in the US? Poker Bill Update!

Time is Getting Closer

There was a lot of hype concerning an online gaming bill that was first mentioned in early July by senators Harry Reid and Jon Kyl. When the senate, big casino and online gaming owners and avocates showed up in August to discuss the inter-workings and the possibilities of creating licensed online gaming sites from within the U.S. (intrastate), there was much to discuss about the whole subject. As time went on, the senate decided to push the decision and oversight of The Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012 until after the Presidential Elections in November.

As we all know, and it being November already, the elections ended recently with the re-election of President Obama. It is now a tense time for all of the casino owners, especially those from Las Vegas, as they may be the most affected by this bill. However, the casino owners within the U.S. will not be the only ones affected by this bill. We have all heard of, or at least should know that most of the online poker websites that allow U.S. poker players to participate through their websites and software hold gaming licenses in Antigua and Barbuda and/or Kahnawake.

What the Gambling Bill State?

The reason there is a current up-roar, by the casino owners and by the small Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda is due to the specific portions of the online gaming bill that could hinder their main revenue stream. The bill, which was made specifically to update the 1961 Wire Act and the 1970 Illegal Gambling Business Act, mainly prohibits most forms of online gaming. The problem is not what they make illegal, it is the exceptions they make and the further consequences of what those exceptions will bring.

The main exceptions are for off-track horse-racing wagering, online lottery tickets, and the main subject for today, licensed poker. If this bill were to pass, it does not automatically mean that every person in the U.S. will be able to play poker online. Each individual state would need to opt in to the law and agree to the regulatory framework. The bill goes further on, stating that any U.S. player that engages in illegal sites could make any property or winnings used during the transaction to be subject to forfeiture. They have determined that in order for a poker site to be legal, it will have to be operated and headquartered within the U.S.; it may go further and make it happen individually for each state.

That is where the nation of Antigua and Barbuda is going to be hit the worst. Seeing as the bill will make any unlicensed or even licensed online gaming website that is operated and headquartered outside of the U.S., illegal. Antigua generates about $1 billion annual GDP from licensing and operating these gaming websites, so if the bill is passed, they would be cut from their main revenue stream.

What the bill means for the Players and the U.S.

The Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012 is truly a revolutionary bill that could change how the U.S. and each state within deals with the insurgence of online poker sites. This would mean a much more open market for poker websites to operate in.

The players themselves would benefit greatly from this bill, seeing as how at the moment playing poker online is a grey area in most states. They would be able to, if their state opts into the law, play poker online without any fear of reprisals and the added comfort of knowing that the website is being operated and headquartered from within the state. This will not only be able to generate more revenue for the current poker sites, but will also help the states generate revenue as well.

Look forward to the coming month, as it could change how the U.S. deals with online gaming and online poker.

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