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Updates On Online Gambling Legislation

By: Ryan Alders, Wednesday April 29th 2009
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A New York Times report states that online gambling may be legalized in the United States sooner rather than later. At the outset the report acknowledges that the enactment of the UIGEA in 2006 and the consequential shifting of the big publicly traded European companies from the American market were not good for the online gambling industry in America. The report cites unofficial statements from the executives of these companies that they may soon get a second chance in the United States. In a sense this is supported by the recent settlement between PartyGaming and the Department of Justice for old offences and the possibility of other online gaming companies following suit. This is also supported by the immense pressure on some of the European countries to comply with a regime of legalization and regulation of online gambling.

The report comes just a week ahead of Democrat Representative Barney Frank's proposed introduction of legislation aimed at overturning the UIGEA. This was first to be introduced in March and then immediately after the Easter break. Online players will be hoping that there will not be any further delay. Frank had introduced two bills last year. One had failed to get the vote of the committee and the other could not be voted on by the full House of Representatives due to lack of time. However this time Frank has indicated that he plans to push the bill faster. The New York Times report states advocates of liberalization think they might get a friendlier hearing in Washington this time around. There are two reasons for this. One is President Barack Obama's remarks of his fondness for poker during his election campaign. The other is the control now exerted by the Democrats in the Congress. The Democrats have been less hostile to online gambling than the Republicans.

There has also been a need expressed by many states to collect revenue by taxing online gambling. California has been one of them. It had also been believed that the Californian legislators had initiated steps in this regard. Now a draft legislation dated 15th January 2009 has been obtained by IGamingNews and is doing the rounds of Internet forums. Certain provisions in the draft will not warm the hearts of the online gambling community at large. For one it speaks online of online poker and not online gambling as a whole. It also states current gaming establishments licensed by the state of California and California tribes with gaming compacts would be given licenses to conduct online poker. This would imply only the land based casinos of California can start online poker rooms. The third condition is that only Californian residents would be allowed to play. This would detract from the International nature of online gambling. But if this legislation sees the light of day then at least a beginning would have been made.

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