New Jersey rep preps pro-online gambling legislation; Reid done with online gambling

New Jersey rep preps pro-online gambling legislation; Reid done with online gambling

A New Jersey congressman says he’ll mount a fresh push to drag America’s “obsolete” federal gambling laws screaming and kicking into the 21st century.

New Jersey rep preps pro-online gambling legislation; Reid done with online gamblingOn Friday, ESPN’s David Purdum reported that Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) plans to introduce new legislation aimed at harmonizing the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, the 1961 Wire Act and the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

Pallone (pictured, far right) told ESPN that federal gambling laws “need a wholesale review to see how they can actually work together and create a fairer playing field for all types of gambling, both online and offline, including sports betting and daily fantasy sports.” Conversations with stakeholders are already underway but Pallone offered no details on when his new legislation might be filed.

Pallone, the ranking Democrat on the House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee, has been attempting to change federal gambling laws for years. His latest effort was a committee hearing this spring that was supposed to address multiple forms of gambling but ended up focusing solely on DFS.

Pallone’s home state boasts the largest intrastate online gambling market in the US, and has also led the (to date unsuccessful) charge to scrap PASPA, so it’s only natural that Pallone go to bat for Garden State gamblers.

But Pallone’s latest bill isn’t likely to meet with any more success than his previous efforts. There may be a growing recognition that US gambling laws are hideously antiquated and actually counterproductive to their stated aims, but there’s no sense that this trend has reached anything approaching the critical mass necessary to convince Washington’s do-nothing pols to tackle such a potentially divisive issue.

In an illustration of Congress’ legislative inertia, outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) recently told GamblingCompliance that he has no plans to introduce last-chance pro-online poker legislation in the lame duck session following November’s election. Reid said he was “not going to be able to get the poker bill done … It’s gone. It’s not the time to do it.”

Reid (pictured on the left) justified his defeatist attitude by pointing out that neither of his previous efforts to legalize online poker nationwide were formally introduced on the Senate floor because “I couldn’t get help – even from the Nevada senators.”

Reid appeared to have flipped his script in recent years, publicly hinting that he would support plans to ban all online gambling championed by Las Vegas Sands’ boss Sheldon Adelson, albeit with a potential carveout for poker.

But while Reid isn’t sure if “it’s good for America or the world to have all this spread of gambling,” he added that “I, personally, don’t plan on doing anything” to advance Adelson’s anti-online cause in the lame duck. And Reid couldn’t resist taking a swipe at Republicans for introducing the latest version of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act just days after Adelson cut GOP senators a check for $20m.