Gambling Bill Details Emerge

Gambling Bill Details EmergeFinally some details of New York Representative Peter King’s gambling bill have been released. King’s bill titled the Internet Gambling Regulation, Enforcement, and Consumer Protection Act of 2013 was recently introduced in congress. The federal government has a short window of opportunity to pass a comprehensive online gaming law before the power to regulate internet gambling is taken by the states. King’s bill will legalize most forms of gambling including online bingo. Previous federal bills limited online gambling to poker.

King’s bill would establish a legal framework that will regulate online poker and casino games. At the present time no list of allowable games is not included in the bill but it is widely believed that the bill will include all casino games that fall under class III gaming. Class III games include slots, roulette, craps, slot machines, video poker and any table game banked by the house using cards. If the bill becomes law an Office of Internet Gambling Oversight will be created within 180 days of the bill’s passage. The office would be in charge of enforcing federal regulations. The bill assumes that states opt in unless saying otherwise in 120 days of the bill’s passage into law.

The state’s governor must contact the federal office if they want to opt out within the 120 day period. They must also offer an explanation for doing so. Reasons could include that the state’s laws require an opt out or that the state is opposed to laws that expand gambling. State legislature could also opt out by a majority vote in both houses. Native American tribes will have similar rights and obligations. Tribes could opt in even if their state opted out. The bill will establish a level playing field between casino interests and tribal gaming interests. Both groups can participate on the same terms. King’s bill will also allow states to sell lottery tickets online.

Licensing for gaming sites would be handled in two ways. States and tribes could use existing gaming commissions or they could create a new one. If a state or tribe fails to create a licensing body the federal government will step in. Licenses would be good for five years. License applicants would be subject to extensive background checks. In the current bill taxes have not been addressed but details will be added at a later date. A bad actor clause in the bill will prohibit any company that has accepted bets or participated in illegal sportsbetting. States will be free to adopt stricter measures.

Unlicensed operators that continue to offer internet gambling to US residents will be fined $1 million a day. Some violations carry a ten year prison sentence. The bill will also ban internet cafes in the US. The bill provides a strong set of consumer protections.

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