Details of King’s Gambling Bill Emerge

Some of the details of New York Representative Peter King’s internet gambling bill have emerged. According to the reporter the federal government’s window to regulate gambling on the internet is closing. King recently introduced the Internet Gambling Regulation, Enforcement, and Consumer Protection Act of 2013. The federal government has a limited amount of time before the power to regulate is taken by the states. King’s bill will legalize most forms of gambling on the web including internet bingo and other table and casino games. Previous online gambling bill limited available games to poker. Not everyone is happy with King’s bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that the bill will kill ongoing efforts to legalize poker.

The gambling lobby is divided by King’s bill. Some want poker only legislation while others want to see most forms of online gambling legalized and regulated. Many in the gaming lobby point out that a single set of federal regulations will be easier to deal with instead of a hodge podge of individual state laws, regulations and licensing regimes. At the present time no list of allowable games is currently available but some say that the bill will legalize casino games that fall under class III games. Class III games include internet bingo, slots, roulette, keno, craps and poker.

States would have 120 days after the passage of the bill to opt out. The governor or regulators must contact the federal government if they wish to opt out during the 120 day period. The bill will create an Office of Internet Gambling Oversight in the Treasury Department. Tribes will have the same rights and responsibilities as the states. Tribes can opt in even if their native state opts out of internet gambling. The bill also creates a level playing field for commercial gaming interests and tribes.

Licensing will be handled in two ways. States and tribes could set up their own licensing procedures through existing gaming commissions. If an individual state fails to implement a licensing body the federal government will step in. Federal licenses will be issued for five years. Strict background checks are required and anybody convicted of a felony or owing back taxes will be ineligible for an internet gaming license. Taxes are not addressed in the current version of the bill but will be addressed at a later date.

Existing unlicensed would be allowed to exit the US market without penalties. Players must be instructed how to close their accounts within 7 days of the passage of the bill. Unlicensed sites that continue to operate could be subjected to fines of $1 million per day! Penalties include ten years in prison. Internet cafes would be banned nationwide. Players must be 21 to gamble online and problem gamblers can opt out, set deposit limits, loss limits and self-exclusion. Existing state run internet gambling operations would be grandfathered in.