U.S. House Committee Votes in Favor of Online Gambling Regulation Bill
The U.S. Government took a giant leap towards legalized and regulated online poker Thursday when the Barney Frank led House Financial Services Committee passed legislation to enable Americans to bet online.
Should it become law, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act of 2009 would establish a federal regulatory and enforcement framework under which Internet gambling operators could obtain licenses authorizing them to accept bets and wagers from individuals in the United States.
The Act passed in the House Financial Services Committee by margin of 41-22 and must now go through both the full House and Senate before becoming law.
According to the Committee, the legislation comes in response to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which restricted the use of the payments system for Americans who gamble online.
The new act will require licensees to take appropriate safeguards to prevent fraud, money laundering, underage and compulsive gambling.
It also contains protections to prevent minors from gambling online; prevents inappropriate online advertising targeted toward underage or compulsive gamblers; prohibits licensees from accepting bets or wagers from persons on the self excluded list of compulsive gamblers and persons delinquent with child support payments; prevents the use of a credit card to gamble online; requires that players set financial loss limits; strengthens regulatory requirements regarding integrity and fairness; bans violators of federal and state gambling laws from obtaining a license; and requires a substantial U.S. presence as a condition of obtaining a license.
PokerStars, the World's largest online poker site, has come out quickly to applaud the Committee's support of the bill.
"The bill, sponsored by Committee Chairman Barney Frank, offers a long overdue common sense approach to Internet gaming regulation in the United States," reads a release.
"PokerStars wholeheartedly supports the efforts of Chairman Frank and the bill's proponents. This bill represents the most significant U.S. legislative accomplishment in the history of the Internet gaming industry."
Although PokerStars has continued to allow U.S. Players on its site through the passage of the UIGEA, the company believes its activities in the U.S. are and at all times have been lawful and will not prevent the organization from obtaining a license should the bill become law.
"PokerStars maintains its strong support for H.R. 2267 and encourages the full House and ultimately the Senate to move quickly to secure passage during the current Congressional term," said Paul Telford, PokerStars' General Counsel.
"PokerStars, a pioneer in operating online poker under stringent regulatory frameworks, looks forward to working with incumbent and new operators in promoting a safe and healthy online poker industry in the United States, as it currently does under similar licensing models in Italy and France."
It's about time!