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Senator Introduces Act That Would License Online Poker

Bill Specifically Defines Poker as a Skill Game


An act that would establish a legal framework to license and regulate online poker in the United States was introduced by New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez yesterday. If passed, S. 3616, called the “Internet Skill Game Licensing and Control Act of 2008,” would amend current U.S. Code to “provide for the licensing of Internet skill game facilities.”

The text of the proposed bill defines “Internet skill game” as “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.”

“This is really a bill that poker players could love. It’s written to directly help the online poker playing community to establish licensed and regulated poker in the U.S.,” said John Pappas, executive director of the Poker players Alliance. “We believe that it is a great marker for the next Congress and the new administration.”

The government would look at companies’ primary owners, financial holdings, history of following the law in foreign jurisdictions, and corporate structure, among many other things, before granting the companies licenses to operate here. If passed, the Secretary of the Treasury will be responsible to prescribe the licenses, all the safeguards, regulations, and testing mechanisms necessary for the government to begin licensing Internet “skill games” within 180 days of vote.

The act also calls for the Secretary of the Treasury to constantly monitor the licensed sites to make sure that the games remain fair and the companies are following the rules of the licensing agreement, as defined by S. 3616.

The proposed bill also gives states and Indian lands the rights to refuse to allow its residents to access the federally licensed sites, if they so choose.

The PPA, which through a great lobbying effort has bent the ear of many congressional members for the past three years, worked with Sen. Menendez’s staff to help draft this proposed law change.

“One of the things that Sen. Menendez really gravitated to is the fact that, under the current environment, consumers aren’t getting the protection that the deserve, and he wanted to introduce a bill that would provide a regulatory framework that protected U.S. consumers from fraud and abuse, and also to ensure that children don’t get access to the websites and to protect problem gamblers, as well," Pappas said.

This is the first time a Senator has written a proposition that tries to clarify which games should be considered skillful among those for which money is wagered on the Internet, and therefore would be protected by this bill. House members, particularly Barney Frank, have tried to take on this issue since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 was passed.

Tags: poker law


13 years ago

Barney may be for poker, but he's a idiot!!!


13 years ago

This would be great for poker but bad for sportsbetting, which has already had its fair share of problems. Even though the idea for sports betting being illegal stems from the possibility of sports games being fixed, and the fact that many say no skill is involved with placing these bets - the truth is a sports bettor could use more skill than it takes to be an average poker player in researching the teams that he/she is going to bet on.
Even though more and more attention has been drawn to online betting, and even though it seems that we are very close to getting favorable laws passed, I do not think that the USA will allow ANY online gambling that is not housed with-in the USA, run by USA companies, and ruled solely under USA laws.