The PPA weighs in on the new Reid-Kyl Poker Bill

25 September 2012

Newspaper

The summary text for the new 2012 gambling bill has been leaked to the public, and enough time has passed for a formal response from the Poker Players Alliance.

If you are looking where to read the UIGEA Summary Text for your self, look no further. Officially titled The Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012, this leaked summary text provides enough details to see why its ruffling feathers across online gambling forums like the Online Players Union and the GNC Poker Forum. The title alone gives three reasons to pause.

Keep in mind, this summary text is only a draft bill, and it will likely incur many changes and before it is introduced in the legislature. That being said, it’s a far cry from the bill that was passed around two years ago.

If you think you have strong feelings about the proposed bill, the Poker Players Alliance will trump you. Having only the summary text to go on (despite many attempts to get a hold of the full bill’s language), the PPA has openly expressed its concerns of four key elements of the proposed bill.

  • Player Penalties:  The summary is vague in its wording, stating, “To deter U.S. players from patronizing illegal sites, the bill makes explicit that any property involved in or traceable to a gambling transaction in violation of the new act (including winnings) is subject to forfeiture.” Whether or not the government will go after individual sites or individual players still needs to be determined. The PPA does not agree with player penalties in any online poker legislation.
  • The Proposed Black-Out Period: The summary describes 15-month blackout period provided to let Indian tribes catch up to Vegas casinos in their licensing with the Department of Commerce. The PPA holds that this waiting period is excessive and that a six-month blackout period is more reasonable.
  • No International Liquidity: The summary text makes it pretty clear: “no licensee or other U.S. person may accept bets or wagers from persons located in other countries.” While the PPA understands that regulated online poker would begin and end within the country’s borders, closing the door to international liquidity may be shortsighted.
  • Five-Year Penalty To Poker Companies: For all of those online poker sites who offered online poker after the 2006 enactment of UIGEA, the 2012 bill would like to place a five-year ban on their ability to be licensed. The PPA again thinks this is excessive. “We believe the five-year penalty box aimed to keep companies like PokerStars out of the U.S. market seem unduly unfair,” John Pappas, Executive Director of the PPA said. “They should have the ability to partner with other U.S. gaming companies to offer what players believe is a very good service in the U.S.”

The new 2012 bill also changes how states can opt-in to online poker regulation. Where the 2010 bill automatically included any state that previously allowed poker in some form, now the bill automatically opts every state out. States will need to opt-in by means of majority vote of the state legislature.

For more of the difference between the 2010 proposed gambling bill and the current 2012 version, we recommend reading the Poker News article, “Summary Text of Reid-Kyl Internet Gambling Bill Goes Public“.

While the PPA agrees that federal regulation is superior to state-by-state regulation, the hurdles that are presented with the current bill are staggering.

What is your take? Hold ‘em or Fold ‘em?