Still no sign of internet poker legislation on horizon

Apr 17, 2012 3:07 AM

Here we are, a bit more than a month away from the start of the World Series of Poker and there is still no sign of Internet poker legislation on the horizon.

Poker proponents had obviously been hoping for more than this by now. Gaming industry professionals who have been following the situation are increasingly leaning toward a consensus that says it is not realistic to look for anything out of Washington this year.

"I don’t expect there will be anything happening before the lame duck session after the election," a senior industry official told GamingToday last week, "and I do not imagine that will be successful."

His conclusion: Wait until next year, and in the meantime, there are increasing indications state action may have the effect of taking the issue out of Washington’s hands.

Illinois has launched the online sale of lottery tickets to state residents, an action that in many other states would have opened the door to Illinois Indian groups using the Internet for their own gaming purposes such as poker.

But there are no tribes in Illinois…not yet, anyway.

There could, however, be a flurry of Internet poker activity among native Americans if the state of New York begins using the Internet to sell lottery tickets. New York is expected to move in this direction since it was one of the states referred to in the Justice Department’s decision of last December that said the Internet sale of lottery tickets did not appear to violate provisions of the Man Act.

New York tribes already have casinos as well as hopes of building more. It’s not a big stretch to imagine a move toward Internet poker, an action that would be quickly imitated in other jurisdictions.

Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman says his company is ready to launch Internet poker as soon as the necessary regional or state legislation and compacts are in place.

"We would prefer to see action by Congress," he said, "but either way, we are ready to move forward as soon as we see an opportunity that makes sense."