Washington, DC (July 28, 2010) –The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide, today applauded passage of H.R. 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, by the House Financial Services Committee. The bipartisan 41-22 vote demonstrates that sensible regulation of Internet gaming is gaining support in Congress while prohibition continues to fail.
“The fact is, online poker is not going away. Congress has a choice – it can license and regulate it to provide government oversight and consumer protections, or our lawmakers can stick their heads in the sand, ignore it, and leave consumers to play on non-U.S. regulated websites in all 50 states,” said Former Senator Alfonse D’Amato, chairman of the PPA. “I’m glad the Financial Services Committee today overwhelmingly chose to act and protect Americans as well as preserve the fundamental freedoms of adults and the Internet.”
Sponsored by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA), H.R. 2267 establishes a robust licensing and regulatory regime for online gaming in the United States, providing much needed oversight on this growing industry in order to protect consumers, children and problem gamblers. By using the most modern technologies and regulatory authority, this bill goes further than the ineffective Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) to keep children and problem gamblers off these sites, at the same time allowing for strong consumer protections for adult consumers who enjoy this recreational activity. Additionally, licensing and regulation presents an avenue for companies to return to the U.S., providing the economy with much needed jobs and tax revenue. The bill was further strengthened by several bipartisan amendments that provide even greater consumer protections and strong enforcement against unlicensed operators, something that the current law (UIGEA) lacks completely.
“We commend the lawmakers who helped make H.R. 2267 stronger through a variety of consumer protection mandates. In particular, we thank Representatives John Campbell (R-CA), Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH), and Melissa Bean (D-IL) for their thoughtful additions to the bill and their interest in preserving the rights of adult poker players in their districts,” said John Pappas, PPA executive director.
While the bill has passed out of Committee, there is still much work to be done and areas of policy in this bill that must still be addressed. To be clear, despite the concerns of some of our members, nothing in the Committee-passed legislation precludes lawful Internet poker-only operators whom U.S. players know and trust today from the opportunity to operate under a regulated system. The PPA will work with House and Senate lawmakers to ensure that the final legislation produces the best regulated online gaming environment for the consumer.
“This is a great day not only for poker players, but for proponents of Internet freedom and individual liberty,” said D’Amato. “We thank Chairman Frank for his leadership on this bill, and look forward to working with him to bring this bill through the legislative process.”
Key provisions of the bill include:
- Thorough vetting of potential licensees and creation of an OFAC-style list of illegal operators;
- Mandatory implementation of technologies to protect against underage gambling using the commercial and government databases used for online banking to verify age and identity
- Requirements for operators to set daily, weekly or monthly limits on deposits and losses to monitor and detect individuals with excessive gaming habits;
- High standards to thwart fraud, abuse and cheating to ensure fair games for customers;
- Regulation to prevent money laundering; and,
- Processes to prevent tax avoidance.