New Internet Gambling Bill Introduced in U.S. Congress

Just a few months after an online poker bill failed to make much progress in the United States Congress, a new piece of legislation was introduced today.

The bill is apparently identical to H.R. 2267, an online gambling bill that passed the House Financial Services Committee last summer but did not reach the House floor. An effort in December by Sen. Harry Reid to make progress on a poker-only bill failed, as well.

The new bill, however, has a bit of an advantage over 2267, which was introduced by Rep. Barney Frank, a Democrat. The bill is called the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act and was introduced by John Campbell (R-Calif.). The House is now controlled by the Republicans, and the bill will likely need bipartisan support in both houses of Congress to become law. Frank is a co-sponsor, as is Peter King (R-N.Y.).

The bill would set up a regulatory framework for online gambling the U.S., and would create safeguards to prevent minors from accessing online gambling sites.

Two online gambling lobbying groups came out in support of the legislation, which isn’t shocking, since they supported the first iteration of the bill.

Here’s Michael Waxman, spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, in a press release:

“This new legislation provides a common-sense approach to better protect American consumers, create thousands of new jobs and generate billions in new revenue to support our economy. It’s time for Congress to stop dragging its feet and to act on this issue. Prohibition has been a failure, leaving millions of Americans who continue to wager online completely vulnerable and offshore operators as the only beneficiaries in a thriving, uncontrolled marketplace.”

And Poker Players Alliance Chairman and former Senator Alfonse D’Amato:

“The great American game of poker has long been ingrained in our country’s proud history and, as with so many other facets of life, has migrated in the technological age to an online format. Given that millions of Americans currently play online poker, states across the country are recognizing the value in licensing and regulating the game and many are introducing their own laws to allow for residents to play in a safe, regulated market while collecting millions in tax revenue. However, instead of a patchwork of state laws limiting the pool of players against whom residents can play and serving to only protect the Americans in those states, the time is now for Congress to step up and pass federal legislation…”

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