October 1, 2008 — A number of gaming news sites are reporting that U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from the state of New Jersey, has introduced into the U.S. Senate a new bill that aims to license and regulate online poker.
The goal of the bill, officially known as S. 3616 and called the “Internet Skill Game Licensing and Control Act of 2008,” is to establish a legal framework to license and regulate online poker in the U.S. by re-defining poker as a game of skill. This would adjust U.S. law to “provide for the licensing of Internet skill game facilities,” according to CardPlayer.com’s Bob Pajich. (Read that article here.)
"The text of the proposed bill defines 'Internet skill game' as 'an Internet-based game that uses simulated cards, dice, or tiles in which success is predominantly determined by the skill of the players, including poker, bridge, and mahjong,' writes Pajich in today's article.
"If passed, this bill would provide what the poker community has been seeking ever since the passage in 2006 of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act — clear language that Internet poker is permitted in the United States and that U.S. financial institutions may conduct business with those sites," writes Shari Geller in an article in today's PokerListings.com. (Read that here.)
"The focus of the bill is to clarify what poker players have believed all along — that poker is a game of skill, and that the government may license and regulate it over the Internet, but not try to ban it," writes Geller.
The Poker Player's Alliance (PPA) has quickly embraced the bill, calling it an "exceptional piece of legislation" that “will establish licensed Internet poker in the U.S. and provide American consumers with the vast benefits of a clear regulatory system.
"The bill is the first of its kind to focus primarily on your favorite pastime. S. 3616, is landmark legislation for the poker community and sets the stage for the next Congress and new Administration to enact sound public policy in the area of Internet poker."
According to a news release issued today by the PPA (read that here ), the "key provisions" of the bill include:
• "Thorough vetting of potential licenses;
• "Mandatory implementation of technologies to protect against underage gambling and to monitor and detect individuals with excessive gaming habits;
• "High standards to thwart fraud and abuse of customers;
• "Regulation to prevent money laundering; and
• "Processes to prevent tax avoidance."