Internet gambling oversight legislation introduced

Jun 6, 2013 1:56 PM

A new Internet gambling regulation bill was introduced in Congress today by Rep. Pete King (R-NY) and it has the support of both the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative and the Poker Players Alliance.

The purpose of the  Internet Gambling Regulation, Enforcement and Consumer Protection Act of 2013 is to create a uniform regulatory framework to control the activity and protect consumers. It will, say supporters, ensure Internet gambling is not governed by inconsistent state laws adopted since the Department of Justice’s opinion in December 2011 that the activity is not prohibited under federal law unless it involves sports.

Modeled after legislation approved by a 41-22 vote in the House Committee on Financial Services in July 2010, Rep. King’s bill would assign licensing and enforcement responsibility to a new Office of Internet Gambling Oversight within the Department of the Treasury. While state and tribal licensing bodies could apply directly to this office to receive accreditation to assist with the licensing process, the legislation respects the right of each state and tribe to determine whether to allow Internet gambling within their respective borders or to apply other restrictions on the activity.  Existing intrastate regimes would be recognized while state lotteries and the horse racing industry would also be treated equally.

“I’d be shocked if Congress didn’t move quickly to consider this new legislation, which is desperately needed to create uniformity across the country and protect consumers regardless of where they are located,” said Michael Waxman, spokesman for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, a leading advocate for Internet gambling regulation.  “Rather than cede the regulation of Internet gambling to state lawmakers, Congress should ensure there is consistent oversight of this industry and move to generate significant new revenues without having to raise taxes or cut programs.”

John Pappas, executive director of the PPA said, “Congress cannot ignore progress and the facts. Americans want the freedom to play online poker in a regulated market and states are filling the void. Already three states have authorized online gaming and several more are on the precipice of joining them.

“Poker players recognize the benefits of a federal law over the current state-by-state approach,” Pappas continued. “However, as more states lead, it will be difficult for Congress to follow – and even more difficult to see the necessity of federal legislation. We hope that all of Congress can work together and support this bill. We look forward to supporting this vital legislation and urge its swift movement through the legislative process.”

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