Online Poker Regulation Efforts in U.S. Intensify

Online Poker USU.S. online poker advocates can rejoice in the fact that efforts to regulate the game have taken a turn for the better.

A hearing is set for Thursday, April 16 in Pennsylvania where lawmakers will convene to discuss House Bill 649 that was introduced by Rep. John Payne. The proposal would permit online casino games in addition to poker. Bad actor language is absent in Payne’s measure, a boost for those who would like to see PokerStars back in action in the U.S.

In advance of the hearing, Pennsylvania’s House Gaming Oversight Committee voted 18-8 to approve HR 140, a proposal that urges federal lawmakers not to support the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA). As many are aware, RAWA aims to snuff out online poker and gambling at the federal level [geolink href=””]while permitting daily fantasy sports[/geolink] (DFS) and horse racing.

It is indeed good news that Keystone State lawmakers have made their voice heard by passing the resolution, taking a shot at the anti-igaming efforts of Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, RAWA’s author. Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson is behind RAWA, throwing his bottomless bankroll at efforts to protect his land-based gambling empire.

California Rumors

While Pennsylvania is ramping up its igaming initiative, it seems that [geolink href=””]California[/geolink] may soon follow suit. Rumors floating around the iGaming North America 2015 conference currently underway in Las Vegas revealed that lawmakers in the Golden State may soon be sitting in on hearings aimed at furthering online poker legislation.

Four ipoker bills are on the table for perusal during the 2015 legislative session in California, but negotiations among the state’s tribes and other gaming interests has been stalled since 2009. Who to include or not include for participation in the lucrative online poker industry remains the stumbling block.

Other States to Watch

Although no hearings are scheduled, a dark horse in the race to be the next ipoker regulated state is [geolink href=””]New York[/geolink]. The Empire State still has a long way to go, but is on the right track with land-based gambling expansion in the form of [geolink href=””]new casinos coming soon[/geolink].

[geolink href=””]Illinois[/geolink] is currently experiencing a monetary crisis that may prompt lawmakers to look a bit more seriously at online poker and gambling. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has talked about a casino for the city, with many observers of the mind that igaming won’t be far behind considering the dire straits faced by the state in terms of balancing the budget.

The state of Washington is perhaps another to keep an eye on. The Washington Internet Poker Initiative has been making headway [geolink href=””]despite a proposed bill earlier this year[/geolink] that failed to gain any momentum. Expect more proposals to emanate from The Evergreen State in the future.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett