New Federal Online Gambling Legislation Proposal

After months – if not years – of indecision in regards to online gambling legislation in the United States, this week has been full of huge developments. At the forefront of the online poker news has been the new federal bill proposed by Representative John Campbell. Many poker fans (yours truly included) felt that such a proposal was unlikely if not impossible during the current Congressional session, and yet today we have news that Campbell’s bill – HR 1174 – is not only complete and ready for consideration but that it’s receiving support from both sides of the aisle.

How could a new proposal be ready so soon after Representative Barney Frank’s HR 2267 died? Sources that have seen early drafts of Campbell’s bill say that it borrows largely from Frank’s. Even the official title – Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act – is borrowed from HR 2267. It should come as no surprise then that Frank has already stepped up to sponsor the new bill as have New York’s Republican Representative Peter King and Democratic Colorado Representative Ed Perlmutter.

The new proposal has been referred to three different committees. It will have to pass hearings for all three before it can return to the floor for a Congressional vote. While the House Judiciary Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee will no doubt be tough sells on the cause, the new bill’s biggest obstacle is Representative Spencer Bachus who is the new chair of the House Financial Services Committee and who has also taken a firm public stance against online gambling in any form.

In the meantime, a handful of state governments continue to move toward their own intrastate online gambling legislation. This week there was positive progress in Florida where SB 712 passed the Regulated Industries Committee hearing with a 10-2 vote. Nevada and Iowa also continue to push forward with proposals while California remains in limbo and New Jersey endeavors to rewrite the bill recently vetoed by Governor Chris Christie.

In other related poker legislation news, members of the Poker Players Alliance met with Washington lawmakers yesterday, not to encourage the legalization of online poker in the state but simply to convince them to reverse laws that currently make playing (from your own home nonetheless) not only illegal but a felony. You can read the PPA’s full press release for Lobby Day on their site.

Related Entries