The online poker legislation movement has been slowly developing at the state and federal level since the events of Black Friday. In the past two years, Congressmen have attempted to introduce different versions of a federal online poker bill without any success. The most recent failure, the Reid-Kyl Bill, seemingly closed the door on a federal bill and turned the legislative focus on the state level.
Despite these recent failures at the federal level, outgoing American Gaming Association CEO Frank Fahrenkopf believes that a new federal online poker bill remains a possibility and hinted that it may be introduced before the end of the year.
In a speech at the iGaming North America Conference, Fahrenkopf stated that he “wouldn’t be surprised if a new bill was introduced in this session”. He also added that Senator Joe Barton could reintroduce his bill to legislate online poker during this Congressional session. However, Fahrenkopf did acknowledge the challenges of gaining Republican co-sponsors after the departure of Senator Jon Kyl. Despite these challenges, Fahrenkopf expressed his optimism in legislating online poker at a federal level in the future.
The federal legislation of online poker has faced several challenges from powerful organizations such as the NFL and Republican legislators from non-gaming states. Powerful Congressmen such as Barney Frank, Harry Reid, and Joe Barton have introduced online poker bills to different congressional committees with very little success. All potential bills have failed to make it to the floor of the House or Senate for a vote.
Given the lack of support, federal online poker legislation has taken a back seat to the developments at the state level. Nevada and Delaware are currently developing products and improving set legislation to launch interstate online poker in the coming year. New Jersey is also expected to join this initial compact after Governor Chris Christie signs the amended online gaming bill. Several states such as California, Pennsylvania, and Iowa have also discussed possibilities of joining the interstate compact.
Nevertheless, the outgoing AGA president has provided some encouraging words for online poker supporters in the United States. As regulation sweeps European countries, American poker players eagerly await state or federal legislation of online poker.