May 08, 2011 08:55 ET Explains US Online Poker Legislative Situation

LONDON, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - May 8, 2011) - With Black Friday having recently hit the online poker world, players and analysts are confused with the current situation in the industry. While the US government has taken action to bring down three top poker sites, some of the states are pushing for the formation of legislations that can legalize online gambling and regulate it. In light of this, attempts to explain the US poker legislative situation, to provide clarity:

At the federal level, a bill HR1174 was introduced to make online gambling legal. While the bill addresses aspects related to poker, it is not exclusive to it. Since the Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was put into effect in 2006, various efforts for legalizing internet poker have been made. Nevertheless, until now the efforts and bills have been quite unsuccessful.

HR 1174 carries the same content and title as that of a similar bill created in 2009 - HR 2267. Called the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act, HR 2267 was sponsored by Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank. Though it received a vote at the House of Representatives, it did not get a full vote. HR 1174 too is sponsored by the Massachusetts Democrat and appears to be heading down the same way as HR 2267.

Even though the new bill has some support from the Republicans, it is not sufficient for tipping the scales in its favor. observed that "The bill appears to be receiving just a tad bit of support from the Republicans. And this is not making the online poker world feeling assured or excited, because the side supporting the ban appears to be much larger and fiercer. It is time those lobbying for poker step up their act."

A spokesperson for mentioned that "Players across the US have been talking with their elected officials to communicate their shock and disappointment at Black Friday. But no one is sure of what its outcome will be." reports that with the District of Columbia pressing to implement plans for forming a poker room online, it is possible that it may soon have a good chance of offering this provision to players. The city council in the 2011 budget added a provision that permit sites to let the players play poker online within the Washington D.C. jurisdiction.

The Congress had thirty days in which it could have objected to this provision. The stipulated period passed without objections and it appears that the state has been given the green signal for offering online poker. As the proposed poker network is required to be created newly and cannot be associated with any that currently exist, it will take time.

The downside to this for D.C., is that the Congress can still object to this provision if it deems necessary. Also, the potential poker player pool in the D.C area is quite small and may not be large enough for the creation of a poker network.

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