Friday, August 07, 2009

Breaking News! Online Poker Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate

New Bill Is Separate from Barney Frank's Similar Online Gambling Bill, with a Higher-Profile Position in the Senate

August 6, 2009 (CAP Newswire) -- New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez has just introduced into the U.S. Senate a brand new piece of legislation designed to legalize and regulate Internet poker.

"To amend title 31, United States Code, to provide for the licensing by the Secretary of the Treasury of Internet poker and other games that are predominantly of skill, to provide for consumer protections on the Internet, to enforce the tax code, and for other purposes," the bill begins.

The bill would establish a new legal regulatory framework for Internet poker in the United States, and also put in place certain consumer protections such as age restrictions. Officially entitled S.8309, the Internet Poker and Games of Skill Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, it was introduced today.

No matter what success this bill meets with, it represents another huge milestone in the nationwide struggle to reclassify poker from gambling to a game of skill. This movement seeks to enable online poker to be not only legalized but also change the way it is regarded in popular culture.

That movement has gained a lot of transaction over the past year, with smaller court victories in states such as Colorado, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, and with Representative Barney Frank’s recent efforts to legalize and regulate certain sectors of online gambling with his own legislation (which is separate from this bill).

Home to the original U.S. gaming resort destination, Atlantic City, New Jersey has long had its own internal struggles regarding the legality of gaming, and has recently clashed with the federal government on this basis. So it makes sense that the author of this new legislation is is from New Jersey — and a Democrat, the party that is apparently more open to the idea of fully legalized online gambling. (Although it technically has bipartisan support, the vast majority of supporters of Barney Frank’s recent pro-Internet gambling efforts have been Democrats.)

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) not only supports the new bill, but has provided a copy of it at its website. Check it out here. (Credit: CAP)

Greg Tingle comment...

This online poker bill is most welcome news, and has been a long time coming.

Down under in Australia poker and I dare say, online poker, is already a strong part of our popular culture, just as are kangaroos, meat pies and Holden cars, and having a punt on the (horse) races and a bit of a spin on the pokies. By the way, Sportingbet is introducing V8Bet, so punters can be on the V8 Supercar racing, (Holden and Ford).

Some may not like this, and some will, but there's strong rumblings that sports betting might try to significantly ride off the back of this poker bill, as there could be legal arguments that there certainly are elements of skill (knowledge etc) in picking sports bet winners. A similar scenario of sorts with the game known as "Spot The Ball", which has long been a part of British culture, with numerous British newspapers running Spot The Ball competitions. Property listing companies such as are taking the Spot The Ball game internationally, which isn't that hard to do with the internet as an medium of media, backed up by traditional media, journalism, marketing et al.

Friends, the rules have changed, and will continue to, in regards to online poker, online games of skill, online gambling, and the way business is conducted between people, corporations, media companies et al.

A few apt quotes from some gentlemen with some good ideas and track record of success, getting things done, and changing the world, and the rules of play!

James Packer - "Internet is like electricity"

Rupert Murdoch - "Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow"

Charles Darwin - "In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed"

My tip, look to California to plug into online poker, online sports betting, and quite likely, online gambling as a whole. They have been pro active and early adopters on other social issues such as the environment, poverty and health.

You can bet that Harrah's Entertainment and their chain of hotel - casino - resorts will be watching this space, as will Macau's Cotai Strip, and even Parliament House down under in Canberra, Australia.

In this space, I'm sure glad to be a journalist, media agent and website portal developer, rather than an owner of a casino or online casino. The online poker and online casino happenings are most certainly extremely newsworthy items to cover. It's of course part of the larger civil liberties and freedom of speech - censorship debate. We should have the right to do what we like in our homes, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. Also remember, sometimes the law is an ass, so just because something is legal or illegal, doesn't mean it is necessarily right or wrong. It just means its (current) law, some of which get changed for the better, some not.

As always, know your limits, bet with your head, not over it. If the gambling, or poker playing stops being enjoyable, its likely time to stop. Have fun, whether poker, pokies, spot the ball, or some other game tickles your fancy.

Media Man Australia Profiles


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