Online poker bills previously introduced at the federal level by the likes of Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Joe Barton have failed to gather enough support, leaving poker players in the U.S. resigned to a slow-moving state-by-state scheme that may force a majority of the country to watch online poker from the rail for years to come.
But new hope has emerged in the form of a U.S. subcommittee hearing slated for Tuesday, December 10, 2013. “The State of Online Gaming” will be reviewed by the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. at 5:45 p.m.
The hearing will focus on the “current regulatory landscape” that was influenced by the DoJ’s clarification of the 1961 Wire Act issued two years ago. That DoJ reinterpretation of the statute permitted individual states to create their own Internet gambling schemes as long as sports betting was not among the offerings available via computer and mobile device wagering.
Also on the agenda at next Tuesday’s hearing will be Barton’s HR 2666, known as the Internet Poker and Freedom Act. That bill was introduced in July and identifies poker as a game of skill. Its aim is to regulate poker and permit each state to opt in or out. HR 2666 also strengthens the UIGEA with regard to online casino games.
An expert witness list of those invited to testify has not yet been made public. However, representatives from Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware may be asked to provide insight regarding the online poker and gambling regimes that each has already launched.
U.S. poker players are overwhelmingly frustrated at the lack of movement with regard to online poker regulation at the federal level. Each new hearing or federal bill introduced brings a spark of hope, but that possibility is seemingly quickly dashed by federal legislators without the foresight to see that Americans want to play online poker and that a tremendous amount of tax revenue would be generated as a result.
Whether next week’s subcommittee hearing will be the catalyst for the eventual approval of a federal online poker bill is yet to be decided. But past history tells us that it will likely be a meeting a couple hours in length with no progress made beyond that point.