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New Bill to Legalize Internet Poker Introduced in U.S. Senate

August 6, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez has just introduced into the U.S. Senate a brand new piece of legislation designed to legalize and regulate Internet poker.

"To amend title 31, United States Code, to provide for the licensing by the Secretary of the Treasury of Internet poker and other games that are predominantly of skill, to provide for consumer protections on the Internet, to enforce the tax code, and for other purposes," the bill begins.

The bill would establish a new legal regulatory framework for Internet poker in the United States, and also put in place certain consumer protections such as age restrictions. Officially entitled S.8309, the Internet Poker and Games of Skill Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, it was introduced today.

No matter what success this bill meets with, it represents another huge milestone in the nationwide struggle to reclassify poker from gambling to a game of skill. This movement seeks to enable online poker to be not only legalized but also change the way it is regarded in popular culture.

That movement has gained a lot of transaction over the past year, with smaller court victories in states such as Colorado, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, and with Representative Barney Frank’s recent efforts to legalize and regulate certain sectors of online gambling with his own legislation (which is separate from this bill).

Home to the original U.S. gaming resort destination, Atlantic City, New Jersey has long had its own internal struggles regarding the legality of gaming, and has recently clashed with the federal government on this basis. So it makes sense that the author of this new legislation is is from New Jersey — and a Democrat, the party that is apparently more open to the idea of fully legalized online gambling. (Although it technically has bipartisan support, the vast majority of supporters of Barney Frank’s recent pro-Internet gambling efforts have been Democrats.)

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) not only supports the new bill, but has provided a copy of it at its website. Check it out here.