Details of a federal online gambling bill being proposed by Senators Harry Reid and Jon Kyl have leaked on the internet. Online poker news site pokerfuse carry details of “The Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012” with companies that operated after UIGEA suffering a five-year restriction on applying for a licence unless they can “convince a court that no federal or state law was breached during this time.”
The act, which is in essence a federal online poker bill, will also allow off-track sports betting as well as online lottery on a state-by-state level. Of course sports betting and online casino games aren’t included and there will be a 15-month blackout period before any operators can go online. Club this together with the fact that only land-based casinos that are in the government’s good books can apply for licences in the first two years. You can see already that the odds will be stacked firmly against online poker firms that have the know-how to succeed.
States have the chance to opt-in through a voluntary election with a majority required in each chamber of the state legislature needed to allow the bill to pass. Any states not putting it to the vote will automatically be opted out and tribes will only be allowed to enter discussions if their state decides to get involved.
An Office of Online Poker Oversight (OOPO) will be formed as part of the act and become part of the Department of Commerce. This is where regulations will be drawn up, agreed upon and overseen with tax already set at 16 percent for “online poker activity”. 14 percent of it will go to the states and tribes with 2 percent going to the federal government to pay for the OOPO. The tax is based on “eligible online poker receipts”,
More interestingly Reid and Kyl will be looking to turn around the Department of Justice’s December 2011 repeal of the Wire Act that opened the doors for state-by-state iGaming to roll out.
Details of this bill being released don’t make it any more likelier that it will pass and all eyes will now be on the lame duck session following the election that takes place November. Thanks to a war of words earlier this week between Reid and chief supporter of the bill Dean Heller the hopes have become slimmer than a model on the Atkins Diet.
The contents of the bill itself aren’t particularly groundbreaking and the reversal of the Wire Act could sit well with Republicans as it will strengthen prohibition of both online sports betting and casino gambling. It might not matter a jot in the end anyways as, if expected, gambling rolls out on a state-by-state basis.