US Lawmakers still Undecided on How Online Poker should be Regulated

Several congressional hearings have taken place in the US, on the issue of legalizing online poker. However, lawmakers are still undecided on how poker should be regulated in the country.

Formulating policies to meet the current budget deficit in US states is of key importance now. Legalizing online poker will generate revenues and help the government to deal with its revenue shortcomings. However, the government is yet to decide on an approach that will be in the best interest of all those concerned with the issue.

General Counsel Melissa Riahei States it’s not Easy to Come up with an Approach

General Counsel Melissa Riahei, the Vice President and Executive of Digital Gaming stated with reference to California that there are lotteries, tribal casinos and card clubs operating in the state. To formulate a regulatory bill in California, the interests of all three sectors have to be taken into consideration.

If a state-wise approach is followed for regulating online poker, there are possibilities that not many players from individual states will be able to participate and make the industry profitable. According to the Director of Governmental Affairs of Greenberg Traurig, Dan Walsh, liquidity is of primary concern, when it comes to regulating poker. There are few chances of state licensing being successful unless a federal legislation is formalized.

Individual States Progressing with their Own Plans for Regulating Online Poker

US states like Nevada, California and Iowa have been progressing with their individual plans for regulating online poker. Nevada already accepted licensing applications from 5 companies. Among them, Bally Technologies and 888 Holdings are aiming to be the first in the industry to offer online poker products when the game is legalized in the country. However, the Department of Justice can intervene in the matter. The Justice Department can prohibit state-wise regulations by introducing the Wire Act.

PPA Actively Supports Federal Legislation

The biggest lobbying group for online poker in the United States, Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is an active supporter of federal legislation. However, the possibilities of state-wise legislations have not been completely ruled out by the lobbying group. John Pappas, the Executive Director of PPA, stated that although the group has been opposing state-wise regulation, it will not come in the way of California and Florida if they are able to formulate appropriate regulatory bills.

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