Senator Proposes New Legal Online Poker Bill, S. 3616

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez has introduced a new bill, S. 3616, aimed to legalize and regulate Internet skill games in the United States. The Bill, deemed “Internet Skill Games Licensing and Control Act of 2008”, would effectively decriminalize the transfer of funds for the purpose of playing online poker, bridge and mahjong.

Menendez’s bill defines Internet skill games as any online game that utilizes the simulation of cards, dice or tiles, with the factors of winning dominated by skill rather than luck.

Should this bill be passed through Congress, it would alleviate the problems online poker fans have faced since the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA). This bill calls for clear and unmistakable regulations that would allow financial institutions to conduct business with sites that provide Internet skill games.

S. 3616 clarifies what online poker players in the US have been trying to get across to the government for nearly two years now – that online poker is a game of skill and should be licensed and regulated in the United States, not put on prohibition.

In yesterday’s Press Release from the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the “poker grassroots advocacy group” praised the actions of Senator Robert Menendez for introducing S. 3616, stating, “The legislation establishes the needed licensing and regulatory framework for the United States to exercise appropriate control and oversight over Internet poker and other games of skills.”

Alfonso D’Amato, former Senator and current Chairman for the PPA had this to say: “This action by Senator Menendez is yet another example that prohibitions on Internet gambling, and specifically poker, will not work to protect consumers. The PPA has long advocated for thoughtful and effective licensing and regulation of online poker as a means to protect vulnerable communities, such as children and compulsive gamblers, and provide appropriate controls to thwart consumer fraud and abuse. Senator Menendez legislation is the right vehicle to achieve those goals.”

The PPA’s Press Release goes on to identify the key provisions of S. 3616, the ‘Internet Skill Games Licensing and Control Act’:

– Thorough vetting of potential licensees
– Mandatory implementation of technologies to protect against underage gambling and to monitor and detect individuals with excessive gambling habits
– High standard to thwart fraud and abuse of customers
– Regulation to prevent money laundering
– Processes to prevent tax avoidance

You can read the complete bill, S. 3616, here.

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