The Congress has held a number of hearings on the subject of legalizing and regulating the US online poker industry, but lawmakers still haven’t reached a consensus on the matter.
The focus is actually on figuring out ways to deal with the country’s deficit budget, and legalizing and regulating the online poker industry will go a long way in solving this problem. Despite this, the US federal government hasn’t decided how exactly it should regulate the industry in the best interests of all concerned.
According to Melissa Riahei, the vice president of Digital Gaming, coming to a consensus on online poker regulations in the US is not as easy as it sounds. Explaining her statement with special reference to the state of California, she said that this state has casinos owned by tribes, lotteries, and card clubs, and the interests of all these three need to be considered before creating a regulatory framework.
Leaving the matter of regulating the online poker industry to each state might not work because it can lead to small player fields and poor profits. Dan Walsh, the Greeberg Traurig director of governmental affairs, said that the major concern should be liquidity, particularly because only a formal federal legalization can make state licensing successful.
In the meanwhile, individual states are making considerable progress with regulating the online poker industry within their states, on their own. The states of California, Iowa, and Nevada have already implemented plans to regulate the online poker industry within their jurisdiction. Nevada is now processing applications to provide online gaming services from five gambling companies. 888 Holdings and Bally Technologies, two of the applicants, intend to be the first gaming companies to offer online poker gaming services within the US as soon as the federal government legalizes the industry. Regulating the industry state-wise, however, has one major downside in that the Department of Justice (DoJ) can interfere at any time and prohibit such regulations through the Wire Act.
One of the biggest advocates of online poker legalization in the US is the Poker Players’ Alliance (PPA), which has been pressing for federal legalization and regulation of the game for a long time. Simultaneously, it has not given up the idea that state-wise regulations might also work. PPA Executive Director John Pappas said that, although PPA opposes state-wise regulation, it will not create any problems for Florida and California if they successfully create regulatory frameworks for online poker.