Federal Online Poker Bill Coming Soon?

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853125_26326491Despite the lack of support for a federal online poker bill introduced last year in the U.S. Senate, and amid rumors of Rep. Peter King (R-NY) proposing a new federal online poker bill, there is now an indication that Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) may introduce another federal Internet poker bill as early as June.

Federal Online Poker Bill

According to the Executive Director of the Poker Players’ Alliance, who recently met with Rep. Barton, the Texas Representative is in the final phases of reviewing the language of his federal online poker bill to ensure that it will be passed by Congress.  You may recall that this is not the first federal online poker bill that Rep. Barton has sponsored.  In June 2011, he introduced the highly anticipated Online Poker Act of 2011 in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Despite having eleven (11) co-sponsors from across party lines and overwhelming support from those within the Internet poker industry, the bill died on the House floor.  We can assume that Rep. Barton has learned from his prior drafting missteps (which were strongly opposed as being overly-broad) and is taking his time to thoroughly review the language contained in his forthcoming Internet poker bill to secure ratification by Congress.

State Online Poker Legislation

As we have previously discussed in detail, DelawareNevada and New Jersey have successfully passed legislation allowing for Internet poker and, in the case of New Jersey and Delaware, other online casino games.  In fact, last month, Ultimate Gaming launched its Internet poker website within Nevada, which is the first instance of legalized online poker in the U.S. since April 2011.  Many additional websites are expected to follow Ultimate Gaming’s lead in upcoming months.  In addition, several other states, including  New YorkIllinoisIowaNew Jersey and Texas are exploring legislation regarding legalized online gaming.

Despite the progress made by individual states, those within the online poker industry are eagerly awaiting the passage of a federal online poker law.  Not only would such a law make it easier for citizens to engage in Internet poker, but it could also eliminate much of the confusion that may arise when Internet poker websites are forced to comply with the patchwork of various state laws and regulations, which may overlap and even conflict with one another.

The legislative process of the upcoming federal online poker bill(s), and the potential impact on applicable state laws, will be worth keeping an eye on for gambling attorneys and those interested in Internet poker law in general.  If you are interested in learning more about this topic or pursuing a venture in this area, please e-mail us at info@kleinmoynihan.com, or call us at (212) 246-0900.

The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.  Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney.

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