Slow Progress for Online Gambling Bills
It has been a mixed week for the progress towards legalized online poker in the US.
On the plus side it has been reported that senators Harry Reid and John Kyl have agreed on terms for an internet poker bill. While there has been no comment from Reid, John Pappas, the Executive Direct of the Poker Players Alliance has said that negotiations between the two senators are “likely complete.”
Furthermore, Rep. Joe Barton, sponsor of an internet poker bill, said that he is “confident this issue will be voted on by the House and Senate in this session.”
On the other hand, a spokesman for Rep. Mary Bono Mack, the chair of a House subcommittee tasked with handling issues relating to internet gambling, said that “There is no consensus moving forward with online poker.” There is also a push from Californian tribal interests to have the law dealt with on a state level.
The Californian Online Poker Association (COPA), a collection of tribes and card rooms, are currently opposing both Joe Barton’s bill and Jon Campbell’s bill, both of which aim to legalise online poker. COPA spokesman, Ryan Hightower, said that the two bills “effectively bar virtually all California tribes and card clubs from participating in online poker and would ship California’s online poker jobs and revenue out of state.”
Further opposition comes from the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA). The NIGA has agreed upon six principles in order to protect tribal sovereignty which need to be met before they will support any bills. In particular they say that tribal revenues must not be subjected to tax and that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act must not be opened up for amendment.
However, in the meantime the Poker Players Alliance is trying to build support for Barton’s bill in the House so there is still reason to hope.