New York Republican Introduces Online Gaming Bill

New York Republican Introduces Online Gaming BillOn June 6th New York Republican Representative Peter King introduced a bill titles the Internet Gambling Regulation, Enforcement, and Consumer Protection Act of 2013 in the House of Representatives. According to King the bill is designed “to create a uniform regulatory framework to control the activity and protect consumers.” The new bill would make sure that online gambling is not governed by “inconsistent state laws adopted since the Department of Justice’s opinion in December 2011 that the activity is not prohibited under federal law unless it involves sports.” It is not uniformly regulated, the operators are not licensed, and consumers lack protection from fraud and abuse. With states approaching this issue piecemeal, it can lead to conflicting or inconsistent laws from state-to-state, varying levels of consumer protection, and a perverse incentive for a race-to-the-bottom on standards to attract gaming operators and revenues.”

King’s bill will legalize most forms of online gambling including online bingo. Previous bills limited online gambling to poker. The American Gaming Association has been lobbying for federal regulation for years. King’s bill was praised by the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative which is in favor of online gambling regulation “to protect against underage gambling, compulsive gambling and fraud, while laying the groundwork for the creation of thousands of new jobs and generation of billions to stimulate U.S. economic expansion.” Michael Waxman, the spokesman for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative told reporters “I’d be shocked if Congress didn’t move quickly to consider this new legislation, which is desperately needed to create uniformity across the country and protect consumers regardless of where they are located.”

Not everyone is enthusiastic about the prospects for King’s bill. Chris Grove of said that after reading summaries by quadjacks and by the Poker Players Alliance “This thing seems 100% DOA” – meaning “Dead on Arrival.” King says his bill is designed to “apply tough penalties to unlicensed operators… to put them and their off-shore, untaxed, unregulated services, out of business, forever.” He also contends his bill will “shut down money launderers and criminals seeking to use internet gambling to move funds.” King’s legislation would assign regulatory responsibilities to a new Office of Internet Gambling Oversight in the Department of the Treasury.

Waxman told reporters “Previous attempts by Congress to prohibit Internet gambling have failed, leaving millions of Americans who continue to gamble online without any guaranteed protections or safety net.” Earlier in the year Nevada launched the first online poker site and Delaware and New Jersey intend to launch a variety of casino and online bingo games by the end of the year.

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