Vote the Poker Bill or Forget Online Poker
Posted on December 10, 2010 by George Roberts for Luckyroom.com
Rapid developments are expected in the afflicted area of online poker in U.S. as Senator Harry Reid and his team rally to pass the bill that would legalize online poker and will establish a regulatory framework of licensing and operating poker rooms online by a handful of companies in the United States. The amended law, however does seem to be hiding some nasty surprises for poker players.
After the midterm elections in November the legislature of the U.S. is in a transitional period, which means that there will not be many bills, which is why Harry Reid is pushing to pass the law on online poker before the Republicans take the reins; as the specific group are surely not famous for their sympathy towards online poker in a whole.
“We will know for sure by the end of next week whether the online poker will be part of a bill that will pass this time”, said the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) John Pappas. “Whether it becomes a law or not will be something that we will find out in the coming days”.
The greatest concern, however, for poker players is based on the fact that the senator is supported and influenced by the interests of land based casino owners (mostly in Nevada). The final version of the bill has not been published yet but it is expected to occur within the next few days. However, a version of the bill has already leaked towards the public and it does include provisions that do not look very good for online poker players.
Many existing car room websites that will receive the necessary permits including Full Tilt and PokerStars will probably be allowed to maintain the level of the rake and reward programs but there will be a cost of taxation of 20% on all deposits. This is acceptable but the issue with the bill is that in order to give the time to casinos and new businesses to create their own software and their own websites to strike towards the internet based poker market there will be a delay of full 15-month period in which no online poker room will be legal in the United States,
If the above mentioned bill does pass through professional poker players might find themselves stuck in to a 15-month blackout period which could be disastrous as they will not have the opportunity to earn money by playing poker via the internet and many of them have reported that they would move to different countries in order to continue to play poker online.
“It doesn’t makes sense for the player or the poker industry”, says Pappas. “I do not know why some companies will want to enter an industry decimated and the players have moved to other sites. There will never earn back these individual players. If anyone cares to run an online gaming site they would like to see a far smoother transition”.
Another point of concern is the so-called three-year trial period. The main concept is that the first three years the Americans and non-American players will be divided between them. The American websites will not be allowed to accept non-US citizens and PokerStars, for example, should open a new poker room exclusively for American citizens by the end of that period.
Pappas asks players and members of the PPA to support the bill because if the bill will not pass during this transitional period the majority of Republicans will force a total ban of online poker in the United States.
“There will be obviously parts of the bill that the players will not like and we should push for corrections. Perhaps, we have to push now to pass the bill and then to correct some points. I think the most important is to provide a clear framework and to establish a long-term institutionalized online poker market. There will definitely be Harrah’s on the scene and some new entries in the field perhaps may be Google, Yahoo and even Facebook in addition to the existing companies. There will be a dynamic market with strong consumer protection and competition which will ultimately prove beneficial for the players”, states Papas.
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