Latest on US Online Casino & Gambling LawBy: Adam Baker, Tuesday January 26th 2010
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All through 2009 the legal developments in connection with online gambling in the United States have been a roller coaster ride with ups and downs. Therefore predictably of the two developments that took place last week one was welcome and the other a disappointment.
The good news comes first. According to John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the HR 2267 could come up for a committee vote and possible mark-up in February 2010. The HR 2267 is the bill introduced by Representative Barney Frank in May 2009 to legalize, regulate and tax online gambling. In a video message posted at the PPA website Pappas addressed the members. "This will be the first time - ever - that there will be a vote on licensing and regulation of Internet poker and Internet gaming in general," said Pappas. "We need bi-partisan support, and we need your help in achieving that." In the past the PPA has taken the lead in supporting legislation favoring online gambling and facilitated players contacting their legislators to voice their support. In the coming weeks more such measures can be expected from the PPA.
But Pappas' vision of bi-partisan support seems unrealistic. 65 Representatives have signed up as sponsors to the HR 2267 so far. Of these only 4 are Republicans. An overwhelming majority are Democrats. Should a vote take place it is likely to be largely on party lines and it is not all hunky dory for supporters of online gambling. If this bill is not converted to law before June 1, 2010, the UIGEA rules will take effect and things will become more difficult after that.
The disappointing news comes in the infamous Kentucky domain name seizure case. The case was heard by the Kentucky Supreme Court in October 2009, and the judgment was to be delivered later. The case went to the Supreme Court when the Commonwealth of Kentucky appealed against the judgment of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, which had gone in favor of iMEGA and the domain name holders. It was widely expected that the order would be released last week. A large number of orders were indeed released but the order in this case did not materialize. iMEGA chairman Joe Brennan Junior said that there are no dates listed in February for the busy court to hand down decisions. The earliest date is on March 18. The dates after that are April 22, May 20 and June 17.
Though iMEGA expects a favorable decision, it has been reported that even an adverse order will not hurt the domain name holders because it will be a simple operation to change the domain names and continue operating as before. The biggest fallout from the Kentucky case happened when Microgaming withdrew from the American market.
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