New Federal Online Poker Bill Drafted

New Federal Online Poker Bill DraftedA new online poker bill has reportedly been drafted and is being perused by federal lawmakers, but movement on the proposal is far from urgent.

The new legislation would ban online casino games, but permit Internet poker. Indications are that the measure was written by Caesars Entertainment, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Nevada Senator Dean Heller confirmed that a new proposal was floating around, but that he wasn’t asked to support it. Heller added that the measure will be given the same consideration as any other legislative offering and that the bill will move in the appropriate direction once the entire matter can be contemplated.

Where that direction may be is not absolutely clear, but recent history suggests that the proposal may not pick up any momentum like so many before it. The online gambling issue continues to be rather low on the list of priorities among federal lawmakers.

Heller indicated that amendments to a previous bill introduced by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz may be another option. That proposal, which has the influence of anti-online gambling activist Sheldon Adelson, aims to ban Internet wagering entirely.

The Nevada lawmaker’s idea is to possibly modify the Graham/Chaffetz proposal by allowing only online poker while banning house-banked games. Heller has spoken to both Graham and Chaffetz regarding that possibility, but wasn’t forthright in how his colleagues responded.

One can certainly speculate that the anti-Internet gambling legislators would not take kindly to Heller’s idea, considering that Adelson has made it his mission to obliterate any form of online poker and gambling legislation in the U.S. Heller is aware of that, but may still attempt to amend the Graham/Chaffetz bill that was introduced in late March and let the chips fall where they may.

The latest proposal drafted by Caesars reportedly takes a page from Nevada’s current online poker statute and may also look somewhat similar to a bill authored by Senators Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) toward the end of 2012. The Reid/Kyl offering was never formally introduced and Kyl has since retired.

With both representing Nevada, Heller and Reid have been working in tandem regarding the online gambling issue. But that issue has been more active on the state level, as states such as Pennsylvania and California have held recent online gambling hearings that may eventually lead to enactment of legislation.

Heller mentioned earlier this year that a federal online gambling proposal sponsored by he and his Nevada colleague would be introduced. But no such measure has been offered. In the meantime, [geolink href=””]the American Gaming Association has withdrawn its support of online gambling regulations[/geolink] due to divisiveness among the organization’s members.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett