A look at Harry Reid’s online poker legislation

As more details emerge about the language of the bill many in the poker industry are trying to sort what specifically will happen if Harry Reid manages to pass legislation that would legalize and regulate the online gaming industry.

One of the most talked about stipulations in the bill is that only land-based casinos in the United States that have been in operation for 5-years or more will be eligible for licenses. On its surface this would appear to shut-out popular online poker sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, but the likely outcome would be that the existing online poker rooms enter into some form of partnership, or even outright sell their software to a land-based casino.

The reason I say this is that land-based casinos are not going to want to develop their own software and deal with all the inevitable glitches, recruitment of players, and so on when they have a viable entity just sitting on the sidelines.

There is another more troubling stipulation in the bill for online poker players, which calls for States to wait 15 months before issuing a gambling license to any prospective casino. This 15-month wait would have a devastating impact on the online poker world as a whole; I can’t even begin to imagine what online poker would look like with ZERO US players at the tables!

The Poker Players Alliance seems to be supporting the measure; here is a look at an E-Mail the pro-poker advocacy group sent out to its members:

You have likely heard news reports that the U.S. Congress is considering legislation to regulate Internet poker and that this bill could be brought up during the “lame duck” session happening now. The Poker Players Alliance has been fully engaged in this process. We are currently working very hard to ensure that the final bill is something the poker community can embrace, but it won’t be easy. We have our detractors and even other gaming interests do not fully appreciate the current marketplace, nor do they respect the ability of Americans to continue playing online unless they control the system.

Be assured, Congressional advocates for regulated Internet poker do not share those views. They believe in a robust and competitive marketplace with strong consumer protections that will, in the long-term, provide an even greater experience for the poker player than today.

It is because of this support that the PPA is urging our members to act TODAY. We ask that you contact your U.S. Senators and urge them to support legislation that licenses and regulates Internet poker

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