Rumors Resurface of US Online Poker Moratorium

US PokerRumors that opponents of online poker are planning a US online poker moratorium have resurfaced once again on Capitol Hill according to

The rumors of a US online poker moratorium first did the rounds in July, when reported that politicians were discussing plans to conduct a two-year study into the pros and cons of online poker. While the study was in progress, a moratorium would be imposed on any new states from passing legislation to regulate online poker.

The planned study and moratorium was interpreted as a compromise between Republic politicians in favor of Sheldon Adelson´s [geolink href=””]“Restoration of Americas Wire Act (RAWA)”[/geolink] and those who were wary of infringing individual States´ rights guaranteed by the tenth amendment. It was hoped that the outcome of the study would once and for all convince politicians that a federal ban (as proposed by RAWA) was unnecessary, and that individual states should be allowed to introduce their own legislation.

It All Went Quiet … and Then

Nothing more was heard about the proposals to impose a moratorium on US online poker until ten days ago, when Michelle Minton – a specialist in Internet gambling for the Competitive Enterprise Institute – tweeted that Republican politicians were trying to push through the two-year ban on further online poker legislation because there was no confidence behind a total ban. reached out to Michelle to ask whether this was a new initiative to impose a moratorium, or a repeat of the rumors from July. Michelle was kind enough to respond with a message confirming that this was a new initiative, and she sent us a link to a report in (sorry, it´s pay walled) pretty much saying the same thing.

The Possible Benefits of a Moratorium

Although libertarians and advocates of regulated online poker are naturally against the proposals, there may actually be some benefits to a moratorium – especially if the study concludes a federal ban of online poker is unnecessary. This outcome would put RAWA to bed permanently and free the states to introduce their own legislation without looking over their shoulders to see what is happening (or what might happen) on Capitol Hill.

Although a moratorium for online poker in the US might not be long enough for the stakeholders in California to sort out their differences, it might be sufficient time for politicians in Pennsylvania to hold an honest debate about the merits of online poker and put a stop to peripheral parties pitching for slice of the action (thanks to our friends at for this link and this one as well). It would also allow time for members of New York´s Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering to rearrange their diaries so that [geolink href=””]more than one committee member[/geolink] can sit through an online poker hearing.

With the momentum for online poker regulation practically at a standstill, and the focus of online gambling legislation currently concentrating on Daily Fantasy Sports, if the rumors are true and there is going to be a moratorium on US online poker, this is probably the best time to have it. [geolink href=””]As we wrote last week[/geolink]:

U.S. online poker players need not wait for lawmakers to pass online poker regulation in order to play poker over the Internet. Those that do may be ordering a rocking chair before joining the action at a poker site in their home state!

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett