New Online Gambling Bill Introduced in Washington

Internet bingo players in the United States may have cause to celebrate soon. Last week a Republican Representative from New York, Peter King, introduced a bill that would legalize most forms of internet gambling. Previous online gambling bills limited cyber gambling to poker. King says the bill will standardize US online gambling regulations. The bill is titled “Internet Gambling Regulation, Enforcement, and Consumer Protection Act of 2013.” The bill would create a special regulatory body called the ‘‘Office of Internet Gambling Oversight” and the Treasury Department will have the authority to appoint its director.

King’s bill will also define what constitutes as unlawful Internet gambling operations in the United States. The new law would require states and Native American tribes to adhere to federal standards. Examples of the new standards include;

“The size and qualification of the agency staff to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of qualified and experienced gaming enforcement agents to carry out the regulatory laws.”

The adequacy and superiority of the resources in place, which the qualified regulatory body will employ in evaluating issues, related to Internet conditions and environment.”
“The tenure of the qualified body to ensure that only those who have demonstrated responsible oversight and enforcement, as well as willingness to work with Federal authorities, shall be designated as such.”
Not everyone is optimistic about the bill’s prospects. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed that the era of internet poker in congress is over. Reid does not believe any legislative efforts to legalize online gaming will be successful. Reid told reporters “I felt for several months now that I don’t see any movement on this. I don’t see anything happening.” Reid said that King’s bill makes the prospects of a poker bill bleak because the bill “basically authorizes everything – 21, poker, everything.” Reid believes the broad gaming bill will divide online gaming supporters and will strengthen the resolve of gambling opponents in congress.

Frank Fahrenkopf, the CEO of the American Gaming Association, told reporters “We spent the last four years working very, very hard to get in a position to support such legislation if it was introduced. So we’re now left in a situation where Kyl, who was very important in the process, has retired, and you’ve got a multitude of states starting to pass legislation. So we think the urgency is even more important now.” Previously the organization supported poker only legislation but may change its stance and support King’s bill. Texas Republican Joe Barton plans to introduce another poker only bill by the end of July.