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Nevada Launch Prompts New Federal Online Poker Bill

A new federal online gambling bill is being drafted by New York Rep. Peter King that is expected to address issues of criticism pertaining to last year’s Reid/Kyl bill that failed to gather enough support.

The new proposal is apparently limited to online poker, but includes the participation of state lotteries in ways that the Reid/Kyl bill did not. That failed measure was attacked by a number of organizations, including the National Governors Association, and both the Kentucky and Massachusetts lotteries.

Though the details of Sen. King’s bill have not yet been fully revealed, the measure will be introduced shortly, according to an email sent by King spokesman Kevin Fogarty to

The launch of online poker in Nevada on Tuesday by Ultimate Poker has apparently stirred interest among federal lawmakers to reconsider an Internet poker proposal. Delaware and New Jersey are also expected to roll out of a full menu of online casino games later this year. It is apparent that individual states have decided to move forward with their own legislation instead of waiting for a slow-moving Congress to act on the matter.

In addition to the trio of states that have already enacted forms of online gambling legislation, other states such as Pennsylvania and California are considering regulations as well. Reports indicate that some pro-Internet gaming federal legislators would like to approve a measure on the federal level in order to put an end to the state-by-state scheme that is beginning to take hold.

While many players are ecstatic that online poker is gaining steam under the individual state format, most would certainly agree that federal legislation continues to be the better option. However, in the absence of such legislation, states have had no choice but to forge their own path following the DoJ’s 2011 ruling that found the 1961 Wire Act to be applicable only to sports betting.

There was talk earlier in 2013 that Sen. Reid was preparing to introduce his bill this year. But it now appears that the proposal of Rep. King may get a closer look considering that it aims to fix the issues that drew criticism on the Reid/Kyl bill. The Nevada senator received considerable flak for his proposal seemingly bending backwards to favor casinos in his home state.

A federal online poker bill would permit all states to participate in an online poker regime, which would increase player pools and remove many of the hassles involved in a state-by-state model. Of course, those states wishing to opt out of legalization may certainly do so.



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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.