New Federal Internet Gambling Bill Circulating In Washington DCJune 9, 2014 5:36 pm
According to Nevada journalist John Ralston, a new federal poker-only online gambling bill is currently circulating in Washington DC. Although at this time not much is known about its sponsor, Ralston did say he smells “a Nevada company,” although he dismissed any suggestions it might have been Las Vegas Sands, a notion which was later confirmed by Las Vegas Sands Corporation VP Andy Abboud, who allegedly said “It is not our bill, nor do we support it.”
Its not surprising the company wanted to distance itself from the new bill, entitled the “Internet Gambling Prohibition and Control Act of 2014,” as Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson has already made it clear he was not prepared to accept any type of online gambling, especially not poker.
Caesars Entertainment, on the other hand, had lent its support to online gambling legislation until performing a major U-turn last month in order not to stoke conflict inside the influential American Gaming Association (AGA). Nevertheless, rumours circulating that Caesars Entertainment may have had a hand in drafting the latest online poker-only bill have been denied by the company. It would make a certain amount of sense, though, as Caesars currently operates two online gambling websites in New Jersey and so may be looking to protect its investments.
Proceeding on the belief that unregulated online gambling is causing “a proliferation of gambling activity, increases in gambling addiction and other socially undesirable behavior,” the new bill says its stated aim is “to prohibit Internet gambling in order to protect consumers and the public interest.”
Poker, on the other hand, has been given a special carve-out as the bill apparently recognizes the fact it is a game “in which success over the long run is influenced by the skill of the player,” unlike other gambling games, such as roulette or slots.
Interestingly, the bill could help broker a compromise between those parties lining up behind Adelson and his Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), and a number of other casino interests who would rather play a part in a regulated online gambling landscape. This has led some analysts to conclude that RAWA itself may be amended to include a poker carve-out in order to expedite future legislation.