Online Poker

New Online Poker Bill Introduced

by Poker Team

It was reported on several news outlets that Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced a new piece of legislation that will center around the regulation and licensing of online poker in the United States.  This news doesn’t come as quite a surprise to those who had been keeping tabs on National Poker Week.  During that conference, Menendez told some in attendance about his plans and it was just a matter of when and not if, he would do so.

Menendez’ bill is similar to an earlier bill, S 3616 which was announced unsuccessfully last session and earned raved reviews from Poker Players Alliance (PPA) Executive Director John Pappas who said during National Poker Week,

“Pushing poker will be an immediate lift and will be easier than [legalizing] other things.” He also reminded over 30 of the PPA’s State Directors, a handful of poker pros, and media in attendance, “Poker has always been played in people’s homes. We are the Poker Players Alliance. We aren’t the Roulette Alliance. We love the Menendez bill because it focuses on our core beliefs.”

Last September Menendez’s S 3616 was introduced and is referred to as the Internet Skill Game Licensing and Control Act. As far as specific go, the bill says about online poker that “The term ‘Internet skill game’ means an Internet-based game that uses simulated cards, dice, or tiles in which success is predominantly determined by the skill of the players, including poker, bridge, and mahjong.” The bill is reaching out to seek legalization of skill games not backed by the house, meaning that the action was primarily player versus player. The example used was of  PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker taking a percent of each pot or tournament buy-in, dubbed the “juice” or “rake.”

It wouldn’t exactly be a wild, wild west scenario if passed however.  Companies seeking US recognition would need to provide complete financial information as well as an outline of an organization’s corporate structure and the names of all people involved in the company. Furthermore, applicants would be subject to intense background checks, betting on sports was specifically prohibited. S 3616 vanished from the record after the 110th Congress adjourned.

It would seem that Menendez has a well-though out game plan here.  The eyes of the online poker world will be watching.

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