Forbes believes US Online Poker may be “Shipwrecked in Congress”

by Jeremy Olson on September 19, 2013

In a perfect world, US online poker would be legalized on a federal level, and players would have freedom to play at regulated sites. But this perfect world has yet to materialize, and Forbes believes that federal online poker legislation may be “shipwrecked in Congress.”

In a recent Forbes piece, writer Darren Heitner begins by discussing a previous effort at establishing federally-regulated online poker called the Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012.

As many poker players know, the original 2006 UIGEA made it illegal for banks to accept online gambling transactions, thus delivering a severe blow to the industry. But the 2012 edition, which was co-authored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ), sought to allow online poker and horse racing, yet ban sports betting and house-banked games.

As Heitner describes it, “the bill proved awkward in its directives, which is most likely why it never made it past the floor of the House of Representatives.” Besides the lack of direction, another problem for UIGEA Act of 2012 is that its main directive was to give Nevada a monopoly on online gambling, through the use of various state and Native American casino limitations.

But that was 2012 and another year has past. So are we any closer to reaching federal regulation in the US this year? The Forbes piece strongly suggests no, with many lobbying groups and companies choosing to focus on individual states.

Reid is already planning to introduce another bill this year and believes he has plenty of support behind it. But for now, state-regulated online poker is a reality since Nevada already has Ultimate Poker up and running, with soon to follow. And New Jersey is just months away from launching their operation too. So the best hope regarding US online poker is definitely interstate gambling.