Hopes that the US would pass federal online poker legislation in this year’s lame duck session have been dashed.
Summing up the progress made so far, John Pappas, Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance, described it as “disappointing.”
Pappas was referring to the online poker bill introduced by Senator Harry Reid, which failed last week and in effect means no new laws licensing and regulating online poker will be introduced this year. He commented: “It is an extremely disappointing end to a year where tremendous progress was made… I am most upset for the players, who have been calling on Congress for years to pass an internet poker law that protects consumers, restores their freedoms and raises revenue. While I don’t think these voices have fallen on deaf ears, I am discouraged that Congress could not coalesce around a solution in the wake of the ongoing fiscal crisis.”
Supporters of the Reid/Kyl bill believe Congress should have passed federal online poker legislation before considering intrastate legislation. They say it will be hard to implement standards of fairness and integrity in online gaming for all if individual states are allowed to pass their own laws. This is already happening, with Nevada having issued gaming licenses. The first sites should be seen operating early in the New Year.
David Krone, Senator Reid’s Chief of Staff, said the senator intends reintroducing the bill next year but that his eagerness for the bill had waned a little. Krone commented the bill would definitely be put forward but said Reid’s feeling was that it had lost momentum through losing some of the consensus that had grown around the bill. He said: “There will be a window next year, but I don’t see it going long.”