Online Poker Bill Bad News for Affiliates?
Amid the excitement about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s new last-minute attempt to regulate online poker, there’s a fair bit of dismay over what the plan might do to international online poker sites — and poker affiliates.
“The current draft of the bill would put the wait time for a foreign operator such as PokerStars to apply for a license at somewhere just north of 3 years, possibly longer,” states Parttimepoker.com, addressing concerns that new online gambling laws might shut out international operators from the U.S. iGaming market. “Current draft language also seems to put the kibosh on PokerStars simply being purchased by an existing US casino.”
“The essentials are in place for a strong marketplace,” adds Pokernews.com. “Many websites will have the opportunity to obtain licenses, including popular existing sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, creating competition that should maintain the levels of rake and reward programs to which players have become accustomed.”
Many in the online poker industry are worried about a clause in the bill that would require a “blackout” period of 15 months before international licenses could be awarded. “This is meant to give time for U.S. casinos and other companies that want to be involved to get their websites together and to essentially reboot the Internet poker industry so that all sites begin on a level playing field,” Pokernews.com adds.
This is no small deal: For professional Internet poker players, and for poker affiliates, it could mean a lack of income for more than a year. Some of these players may move overseas during the “blackout” period, although the PPA is among the groups trying to get that timeframe reduced or eliminated altogether.
“Another matter the PPA is fighting is a proposed three-year probation before the U.S. sites would open themselves up to international players. Even if PokerStars and Full Tilt get licenses, they would have to keep the U.S. and international player pools separate during this period,” the article adds.
Which is to say: Whoa. Do poker affiliates want legalized online poker so badly that they’ll be willing to stomach a year-plus shutdown of Internet poker in the U.S. while the new laws are implemented?