Legalized Gambling in U.S. Running Out of Time

20 December 2010

“On behalf of the millions of Americans who play online poker, I am disappointed Congress has not acted to implement important licensing and regulation of this growing industry. Not only will this include valuable consumer protections, but it also will pump much needed funding and jobs into the weakened U.S. economy. It’s a missed opportunity, pure and simple.”

At least that’s how Alfonse D’Amato, chairman of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) see’s it after the tax bill was passed last week without any online gambling measures attached to it. That has led some to speculate that legalized gambling or even some sort of previsions solely for online poker is all but dead.
There are days remaining in this year’s congressional session but some believe it will take something in line with a Christmas miracle for anything to happen in favor of legalizing online gambling in the United States. According to one lobbyist, all negotiations on the matter have stopped all together.

John Pappas, executive director of the PPA has said,

“No bill is dead until Congress adjourns, but all indications right now from staff, from members of Congress, from lobbyists who work the issue, they would all agree it is not likely to move between now and the end of the year.”

Majority Leader Harry Reid has work behind the scenes to get something worked out before year end and most hopes was on an attachment to the must pass tax cut bill. As the bill started to wind its way through the process however, the likely hood looked dim.

A spokesperson for Reid, Jon Summers, has also said that the prospect of it getting done during this session is not good.

“We are trying to get it done. It is not looking great for this year but we are trying to get it done, and if we don’t get it done this year we will try to get it done next year,” he said.

It seems the last big stand was having the American Gaming Association come out with its endorsement of the bill. Even this did not generate interest and caused one lobbyist to claim, “Negotiations were like the hamster that spins the wheel. The faster you run you still get nowhere.”

So for now it looks like another year of waiting and with Republicans taking hold in Washington it doesn’t seem like any federal legislation will come anytime soon. For now it may be up to individual states to step in. Of course it is Christmas, and sometimes we get surprised by what’s left under the tree.

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