Jul 28 2010

House Makes History With Vote on Online Gambling Bill HR 2267

written by: James under News, Poker Law Comments: 1

For this first time in American history today, Congress has turned in a positive vote on a bill concerning regulation and licensure of online gambling, including online poker. In fact, today marks the first time that a federal decision making body has ruled in favor of online gambling regulation. Barney Frank’s bill was substantially supported by Democrats in the House Financial Services Committee – who voted 34-4 in favor of the passage of the bill. Republicans were nowhere near as supportive with a 7-18 vote. With this vote, there is an indication that the road to licensed and regulated online poker is ready to be traveled. However, there is still a great deal of work to be done before Congress will approve the bill for law.

There were a total of 14 amendments attached to the bill that outlined the new rules for online gambling – if a law were to be made in favor of online gambling regulation. Most amendments approach online poker exactly as would be expected – to prevent gambling addiction and gambling on credit. One amendment requires that online poker sites put into place technology that allows players to put loss limits into place. This is not the first time that limits have been used by major companies to combat addiction. Blizzard Entertainment, the company responsible for the popular MMORPG World of Warcarft, squashed parental law suits after their inclusion of time limiting software that parents could use to block their children from excessive online video game play.

Other notable amendments in the bill included:

  • A requirement that random number generators be verified and used.
  • Government study on the problem of impaired gambling (under the influence of drugs or alcohol).
  • Licensing requirement that an online gambling company employ the majority of its staff in the United States.
  • All licensed gambling sites must be located in the United States.
  • Credit cards will no longer be available as deposit options.
  • Prohibit betting on sports – with exception to pari mutuel racing (betting where all wagers are put in pools divided by bet type and then awarded to all winning wagers).

Not all supporters of online poker are in favor of this bill, however. Based on the amendments attached and the bill itself, the door would firmly shut on many major online gambling companies now serving United States players while a window would be open for existing brick and mortar casinos to literally take over the online gambling industry – unless now foreign gambling companies were willing to hire a majority staff of United States residents. New software required of gambling sites would also help implement the bill’s proposed raising of the legal online gambling age to 21 as well as verify the exact location of each gambler.

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