Now that the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has modified the Wire Act of 1961, making online betting on non sports activities legal and ruling that poker is legal since it is not a game of chance, the online gaming industry is intensifying its pressure on the Congress that it must legalize the online poker industry at the earliest possible.
Obviously, the DoJ announcement, made just before Christmas, has intensified the struggle for the legalization of the online poker industry, with lobbyists as well as lawmakers urging for a proper online poker law at the federal level.
In April, Washington DC will start offering online blackjack and online poker services and Illinois will start selling lottery tickets online by the same time. Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, said this week that his state has the potential to be the epicenter of online betting.
John Pappas, the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), issued a statement to POLITICO, in which he said, “The writing is on the wall. The states are going to do this. The first three or four months of the year is going to be pretty important for Congress to act.”
Those who are pressing for the implementation of a federal law say that the US states are too small and financial weak to face the challenges of online gaming, owing to which the Congress must make a definite move right away. Simultaneously, the state officials are quite confident of making state online poker regulation work.
The DoJ announcement makes it easy for states such as New Jersey and California, as well as Connecticut and Iowa, to follow in the footsteps of Washington DC and Illinois and create online gaming laws during their legislative sessions. While making proper online poker laws is not easy, the states are eager to create regulatory frameworks because online poker will definitely generate revenue streams to help solve their financial problems.
Legalizing the online poker industry at the federal level also has opposition. Last year, the NASPL had passed a resolution, in which it had opposed the creation of a federal online gaming law on the grounds that it will deprive the states of their rights to regulate online gambling.
The federal bills enable states to opt out, but local officials state that a federal laws can devour state-run lotteries that generate funds for a number of development projects such as schools, roads, and so on.