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Online Poker Granted New Hearing on Capitol Hill

Impact on Tribal Gaming to be Discussed on Feb. 9


Online poker talks in Congress will be revived during a Feb. 9 hearing to further ascertain how tribes will participate and be affected by the potential Internet gaming industry.

The Senate oversight hearing will specifically address the recent Department of Justice flip-flop on its long-held position on the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 — a law now rendered obsolete in halting efforts for intrastate web poker.

At the last hearing in front of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-TX) stagnant online poker bill was blasted.

Ernie Stevens, chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association, said the measure “violates the core principals of tribes” to act as their own governments and decide upon appropriate taxation measures.

Bruce BozsumBruce Bozsum, chairman of Connecticut’s Mohegan Tribe, also had reservations with the bill. However, he has consistently been saying that his group is hoping to break into an online poker market. NPR reported Tuesday that Gov. Daniel Malloy is considering a plan to put the state’s tribal gaming groups at the head of such an industry.

Some are completely against gaming in cyberspace.

At the November hearing, Glen Gobin, chairman of the Washington-based Tulalip Tribes, said he sees the online version of casino games as a threat to the $25 billion annual spending attributed to tribal gaming.

Despite their differences, Indian groups were in a consensus that the Barton bill doesn’t include them in deciding how the industry would take shape.

Former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, chairman of the Poker Players Alliance, testified at the last hearing, saying that poker-only legislation would not adversely impact tribal gaming.

The witness list for Feb. 9 has not yet been announced.



over 9 years ago

The tribes can do what they want on there land...Whats that got to do with cyber-space...If they want in on a US government internet gambling initiative to cater to US residents then they should have to play by the rules like everyone else....No special treatment or hand outs... The fact that legalizing poker is getting held up by this stupid little stuff infuriates me. Come election time I'm voting for anyone whos pushes legalization through, no matter their party.