House Subcommittee Hearing To Discuss “The State of Online Gaming”

U.S. online poker players are becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress towards online poker regulation at the federal level in this country. Each of the federal online poker bills that have previously been introduced like the Harry Reid and Joe Barton Online Poker Bills have struggled to gain enough support, making many online poker players resigned to the fact that a state-by-state regulatory framework is likely to happen if online gambling was to be regulated for players in their own states.

For the majority of online poker players in the country, they have been forced to watch all of the online poker action on the rails for what seems like some to come yet, to the bewilderment of many American poker players as federal legislators don’t have the foresight to think further ahead and see that a huge amount of tax revenue would be generated as a result of this regulatory agreement.

But there is new hope for U.S. online poker players in the form of a House Subcommittee hearing on “The State of Online Gaming”, which will be hosted at the Rayburn House Office Building on Tuesday evening. This subcommittee is under the Energy and Commerce Committee.

The main item on the subcommittee’s agenda is a closer look of the current regulatory online gambling landscape influenced by the DOJ’s interpretation of the 1961 Wire Act in 2011. That DOJ ruling opened the door for individual states to allow online gambling as they so desire just as long as sports betting was not included in the gaming offerings provided on the computer or via mobile gaming platforms.

To date, just three U.S. states including Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have acted on the DOJ’s reinterpretation of the 1961 Wire Act, launching internet gambling to residents within their own borders, with Ultimate Poker’s launch of its online poker client in Nevada, getting the ball rolling for other states to follow.

Other U.S. states like California and Pennsylvania are moving forward and seriously considering setting up their own online gambling schemes for players within their borders. It has been on the cards for quite some time, especially after seeing the success of regulated online poker in states that were quick to expand into a state regulatory framework for online gambling.

However, many industry experts believe that a regulatory framework to support online gambling at the federal level will be much less likely to actually occur. By the time it takes federal legislators to act for internet gambling regulation, they will have missed the boat. That is why it is so incredibly important for subcommittee hearings like the one taking place next Tuesday to put the issue on the front burner for change before it is too late and many states in the United States have already gone the way of state regulation.

The hearing on Tuesday will also discuss the HR 2666 “Internet Poker and Freedom Act”, which was introduced by Joe Barton in July of this year. This bill recognizes poker as a game of skill, and its aim is to regulate online poker but allow each state to opt in or out of federal online poker legislation.

Representatives from Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey may be asked to provide feedback regarding their existing online poker and gambling regimes and frameworks which launched in the second half of 2013. Whether or not Tuesday’s subcommittee hearing will shine more light on the benefits of regulated online gambling and instigate change at the federal level, only time will tell, but the discussion will no doubt put the issue in the spotlight once again.