An ABC News report states that a draft online poker bill agreed upon by senators Jon Kyle of Arizona and Harry Reid of Nevada might legalize and regulate online poker at the federal level if only it is approved and made into law.

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Poker Players’ Alliance (PPA) Executive Director John Pappas said that the US Department of Justice (DoJ) cracked down hard on the online gambling industry by seizing the domain names of three major online poker companies and driving them out of the US online poker market. As much as two-thirds of the online poker community in the US played for real money at these online poker sites. Ever since the federal government crackdown on these three sites, US poker players have migrated to a number of offshore online poker rooms.

As estimated by experts in the gambling industry, as many as 10 – 15 million gamblers in the US wager as much as 4 – 6 billion dollars at offshore online gaming sites. Although experts cannot say exactly how online poker contributes to this amount, it is quite certain that US poker players with real money accounts at offshore online poker rooms do not have to pay the federal government any tax on their winnings.

Pappas expressed his opinion that players’ poker winnings can be taxed if only the US government regulates online poker. The government could then collect revenue in billions over the next 2 decades, he added.

Pappas said, “This would establish a U.S. system that would create strong regulations and keep bad actors out. It would allow the market to be run by regulated companies based here in the U.S. who would be accountable to U.S. players and U.S. regulators.”

The PPA, however, does not approve of everything in Reid and Kyle’s draft online poker bills. For instance, the bill prohibits US players to play against overseas opponents and prevents gaming operators who offered real money poker services in US after the UIGEA was passed in 2006 from getting a license for a period of 5 years.

Pappas said, “We think that’s unduly unfair and would eliminate some of the best operators globally. It’s part of the anticompetitive nature of this bill.”

Staunch advocates of the bill state that there will be chaos in the gaming industry if the bill is not passed as it will prevent 50 states from creating 50 different regulatory frameworks for the online gaming industry.

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