September 3, 2009 (CAP Newswire) – The National Council of Problem Gambling has said that it approves of New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez’s new Internet poker bill because it includes provisions for funding problem gambling studies and programs. While that’s not exactly an endorsement, it’s about as much of a stamp of approval as the online gambling community could have hoped for.

“We think, overall, it’s responsible that if you’re going to have a bill that expands gambling, you put in money to address gambling problems,” the council’s Executive Director Keith Whyte recently said to Poker News Daily.

Menendez’s bill, the Internet Poker and Games of Skill Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act or S 1597, worked with a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers that included Jim Moran (D-VA), Lee Terry (R-NE), and Frank Wolf (R-VA) to ensure problem gambling concerns were addressed.

Also helping the bill in its creation and funding was the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), whose National Poker Week in July served as a sort of introduction to Menendez’s bill, which was introduced shortly after the event.

If passed, the bill would fully legalize online poker in the U.S. and provide some surely yet-to-be-fully debated regulation and taxes. The comments from the National Council of Problem Gambling are helpful because they indicate that a potential adversary to the bill's passage seems to be appeased. Read more here.

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