The Bill Covers the Legalization of Online Gambling

2 June 2013 – By Huseyin Yilmaz

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The US online gambling market represents a major bet that will be taken by online casino operators from all over the world. In the past there were some federal attempts to legalize online casinos that covered only poker but late last week, Republican Representative Peter King introduced a bill in the House that covers the legalization of all online gambling verticals, except sports betting. The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2013 refer to the US Department of Justice’s policy switch in December 2011 when it conceded that the Wire Act applies only to online sports betting. Several states in the US like Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada legalized online gambling after this policy switch.

King’s bill comes with several propositions like the creation of an Office of Internet Gambling Oversight within the US Treasury Department. This office will monitor and regulate interstate online gambling and also it will impose uniform safeguards against underage and compulsive gambling. Unlicensed operators will be imposed stringent penalties with the objective of shutting them down but after they have paid off all players’ dues. Besides that, the Office of Internet Gambling Oversight will also act against money launderers and criminals using online gambling to move funds. According to King, state by state legalization will lead to conflicting or inconsistent laws from state to state, different levels of consumer protection and regulators adopting the least stringent standards to attract online casino operators and revenues. On the other hand, a common federal online gambling standard will ensure strong protection for consumers and make it easier for businesses, players, lawmakers and regulators to navigate and freely participate.

Other lawmakers are also attempting to legalize some forms of online gambling. For example, Representative Joe Barton from Texas is preparing his second online poker bill for submission to the House. Nevada Senator Harry Reid is also working on a third attempt at legalizing online poker. Despite this new online gambling bill, the initial reaction from the industry experts is that states have progressed too far ahead on regulated intrastate online gambling for them to support federal control.

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