As reported in yesterday’s The Wall Street Journal, the House Financial Services Committee voted 41-22 to approve legislation that would regulate many forms of online gambling, including poker and bingo, while specifically banning betting on major US sports leagues like the MLB, NFL, NBA, and others.
Other news articles point out that the legislation also would deny licenses to any online site that has allowed, or currently does allow, US players to gamble online. Looking ahead, this would appear to effect PokerStars, FullTilt, and other online poker rooms that have continued to serve US players despite the UIGEA of 2006.
Other key elements of the legislation include player loss limits, rigorous age verification systems and frequent testing thereof, and allowing states to opt out of this legislation and ban its citizens from online gambling.
And the legislation that was passed does not cover how the industry is to be taxed — that’s covered in a separate bill that hasn’t made it out of the House Ways and Means Committee.
It is unlikely that this legislation will be voted on before the current Congressional Session expires in September. The scheduling is simply too tight. If it is not voted on, the process will need to start again next session. Perhaps it will be attached to some other legislation, as was the UIGEA of 2006. Even so, if the legislation is approved, it still would need to be signed by Obama.
We are still years away from any comprehensive online gambling policy in the United States. Need proof? The UIGEA of 2006 took nearly 4 years before it actually went into effect this past June 1 — and there are still plenty of loopholes in that legislation that allow US players to fund and withdraw money from their online gambling accounts… or so I’ve heard. 😉