Dec 13 2010

The Pros and Cons of Reid’s Poker Hiatus

written by: Sara under News, Poker Law Comments: 4

Over the past week there has been a lot of talk regarding Harry Reid’s bill for online poker being inserted into the lame duck sessions going on in Congress currently. Regardless of what your personal opinion is on the bill, if you’re an online poker player, there are some big pros and cons to it being passed.

The Pros and Cons:

We thought it would be a good idea to simplify the 75 page draft (update 12/14: current draft is at 172 pages!) of Reid’s bill into a pro/con list of the large issues to affect the industry and you. Reid Bill Pro Con List

What are providers and people in the industry saying about Reid’s Bill?

PokerStars and FullTilt are reportedly in favor of this bill seeing as how since the enactment of UIGEA, dealing with payment processors is getting increasingly difficult. Although, there has been no official word on this and all Internet Poker sites have been very quiet during the whole ordeal it’s thought to be a mixed bag for them. The passing of UIGEA in 2006 was something they’ve been wanting overturned, but perhaps are hesitant to completely welcome this way of doing so as it will put them out of the US market for over 15 months.

Caesar’s Entertainment Group (who holds the WSOP) and MGM have also been silent on this front. It’s been apparent in the news that they’ve been backers of Harry Reid’s campaign and that they have a hand in pushing this bill. Perhaps it’s not important for them to make statements on the happenings in DC as their stance may be obvious seeing as Caesar’s probably has the most to gain from this bill. They will likely be one of the first to be issued a license for Internet Poker, and also have the clout to carry the industry with the WSOP brand.

The Poker Players Alliance Executive Director, John Pappas, made it very clear in a recent new update that they support the bill in order to achieve the long-term goal of legalization and regulation. However, the PPA finds the 15 month blackout period “absurd” and that they “have fought and continue to fight, tooth and nail against it.”

What does this mean for the future of online poker?

Simply, if this bill passes, it’s likely that the online poker industry in the US will face at least a 15 month hiatus. During this hiatus we can probably expect a surge in live poker play and there will likely be extra tournaments added to compensate for the swell in players. This may create even more clout and loyalty for casinos like those under the Caesar’s Entertainment umbrella and give them opportunities to advertise and promote their online poker ventures in house before going live with them.

After the hiatus is said and done, players and providers alike will launch in a new competitive market being regulated and taxed, which will likely include the advent of new players to the online scene as well.

If the bill is not passed, full-time online players will not see immediate unemployment due to a hiatus, but can continue to expect tighter regulations due to UIGEA and a Republican leaning Congress. This may mean increasing difficulty in working with financial institutions to receive their cash-outs, among whatever other regulations and laws that could be enforced.

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