Representative John Campbell, a California Republican, will co-sponsor a new bill seeking to regulate online poker in the U.S. later this year, several sources are reporting.
The bill will apparently be co-sponsored with Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank, who’s introduced similar legislation in the past two congressional sessions for 2009 and 2010.
“Campbell was one of seven Republicans in the House of Representatives last year to vote “yes” for Frank’s bill in committee,” per Rakeback.com.
Indeed, it was Campbell who modified Frank’s bill last year to add the requirements that U.S.-licensed internet gambling companies must have facilities in the United States, “bettors must be 21 years old, age and location verification must exist, the odds of winning each game must be posted, illegal internet gambling sites must be identified, owners must meet certain requirements, and loss limits should be enacted,” reports PokerNewsDaily. Those amendments were all approved.
The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) sent a message to its 1.2 million members last week stating that the bill would be modeled after last year’s last-minute draft bill from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), but with several key changes.
Among those changes would be getting rid of (or at least reducing) the blackout period in which international online casinos would have been shut out of the newly regulated U.S. market for 15 months.
Other changes include provisions for more international customers and improving the tax framework to be more appealing to players.
“It is welcomed and exciting news that Congressman Campbell intends to introduce a bill that would license internet poker in the U.S.,” PPA chairman John Pappas told PokerNewsDaily. “Last year, Mr. Campbell emerged from the debate in House Financial Services Committee as sensible conservative who understands the benefits of a regulated market rather than the policy of failed prohibition.”
But how much would it really matter? “One thing I am reasonably sure of is that the American betting public would not instantly close their offshore accounts and flock to government-licensed providers,” writes an anonymous sporstbook employee at EGR, suggesting that, since many Americans play on offshore sites now, they’d simply continue to play at those same sites even after new laws are created.