New and Improved Federal Online Poker Bill
Despite the lack of support for a federal online poker bill introduced last year in the US Senate (as drafted by Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ)) there are reports that Rep. Peter King (R-NY) will be introducing a new federal online poker bill that seeks to address some of the concerns that plagued the Reid-Kyl bill.
In particular, the King bill is reported to contain provisions allowing greater participation from state lottery agencies – a grant of authority that was lacking in the Reid-Kyl bill, which drew strong criticism from several lawmakers. Other than the expanded lottery-based activities, the King bill will be limited to online poker, and will not address other forms of online gaming.
The State Race
The timing of the introduction of King’s bill may significant. Earlier this week, the State of Nevada began accepting its first online poker wagers. This may be providing federal lawmakers with a renewed sense of urgency to pass some form of federal legislation rather than let the states create a patchwork of regulations. It remains to be seen how any prospective federal legislation will interact with state laws that have legalized online poker in Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey.
The legislative process on the federal level, 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.
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