The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is now focusing on state-level legalization and regulation of the online poker industry since the US federal government failed to implement any online poker bill in 2012. The entire online poker gaming community, including several key players in the online poker industry and advocates of online gambling legalization, had hoped that the online poker bill would be passed during the lame duck session of the Congress, but there was no such luck. Online poker legalization at the federal level refused to become a reality in 2012.
Speaking on the issue, John Pappas, executive director for PPA, said that he does not plan to leave his Washington DC headquarters, but acknowledged the fact that “the fight for Internet poker is moving to the states.” In 2013, Pappas stated in The State of Poker: “We will be largely focusing our efforts on passing player friendly bills in the states.”
The Department of Justice (DoJ) announced in late 2011 that it has re-interpreted the Wire Act of 1961, according to which the law no longer applied to online poker gaming and online casino gaming, but only to online sports betting. As soon as the DoJ made this announcement, states began “sending strong signals that they intend to push for Internet poker legalization,” stated Pappas.
Senators Jon Kyl and Harry Reid made powerful efforts to push an online poker bill that would have legalized online poker while making all other forms of Internet gaming illegal. In spite of their strongest efforts, no poker law was implemented at the federal level in 2012.
Pappas remarked: “It has become clear that last year’s dysfunctional Congress was a huge obstacle in our mission to secure safe and regulated Internet poker. Sadly, the prospects of the partisan Congress working together in 2013 do not look promising.”
The states of Delaware and Nevada have already legalized online poker. The governor of New Jersey is expected to reveal his final decision on the issue of legalizing Internet poker in New Jersey. In Iowa, a senator is bringing back to life the Internet poker debate and lawmakers in Iowa could be forced to make a decision at the earliest possible.
The law in New Jersey permits the combining of state player pools with player pools in other states that have legalized online poker. Recently, lawmakers in Nevada announced that interstate compacts for Internet poker could be approved.