New Internet Gambling Bill Introduced

John CampbellOn Thursday, Congressmen John Campbell and Barney Frank introduced the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, which strongly resembles HR 2267 that was passed out of the House Financial Services Committee last July.

Despite its approval, the HR 2267 bill did not see time on the House floor and a last-minute revision with an online poker version of the bill from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was also unsuccessful.

According to the PPA, the bill would implement “new technologies to prevent underage play and problem gambler abuse. The bill expands consumer protections not included in the current Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). In addition, the Federal Government and the states will have the authority to prevent consumer fraud and generate revenue through taxes that are currently being paid to competing countries.”

The internet gambling bill also contains provisions to set deposit and loss limits for players, investigate potential licensees, and combat cheating, fraud, tax evasion, and money laundering. In last year’s markup of the online poker bill, John Campbell quickly emerged as one of the true ambassadors of poker, a trait which is reflected in the new bill.

The HR 2267 bill would have created a federal licensing and regulatory framework for the internet gambling industry to protect players in the United States. Unlike similar bills, a nationwide bill would encompass all jurisdictions.

It seems as though the measure seeing the light of day in the House Financial Services Committee will be a difficult task. A source close to Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus stated in a Washington Times article, “If Mr. Bachus addresses internet gambling in the 112th Congress, such action would focus on examining the effectiveness of existing laws and making them tougher.”

Despite the uphill battle, the PPA was extremely happy with the fact that a bill similar to HR 2267 was introduced. PPA Chairman Alfonse D’Amato said in a press release, “I commend Representative Campbell and Ranking Member Frank for their leadership to protect players’ rights while implementing important consumer safeguards. We look forward to supporting this vital legislation as it moves through the legislative process.”

An intrastate internet gambling bill had been pushed in New Jersey before it was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie. Last week, Nevada introduced AB 258 which would legalize intrastate online poker. The bill has the support of online poker rooms like PokerStars.