Although the proposed Reid-Kyl Bill to change American gambling laws went cold and had to be discarded last year, something is cooking in the open view kitchen of the US Congress again.
This time it has been Rep. Peter King (R-NY) to don the apron, introducing H.R.2282 on June 6, under the title “To regulate Internet gambling, to provide consumer protections, and for other purposes.”
There is a clear sense of exigency both from the government and the industry to create clear standards before a patchwork of state-level legislation creates a completely obscure legal environment for online casinos in America.
“A common federal standard will ensure strong protections for consumers, protect against problem and underage gambling, and make it easier for businesses, players, lawmakers and regulators to navigate and freely participate,” said Congressman King.
Speaking from a business perspective, American Gaming Association CEO Frank Fahrenkopf emphasized that the industry “spent the last four years working very, very hard to get in a position to support such legislation if it was introduced,” adding that with the retirement of Sen. Kyl “you’ve got a multitude of states starting to pass legislation. So we think the urgency is even more important now.”
The proposed bill goes further than its predecessor in the range of games it authorizes. While the Reid-Kyl proposal would have authorized only online poker sites in the US, this one would also legalize and regulate other casino games, such as slots, craps, roulette, video poker and various table games.
It would also create a new body to oversee gambling and establish various safeguards to protect players from fraud and from their own weaknesses.
States that do not wish to authorize online gambling could opt out, while states that have already passed applicable laws (Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey so far) will be allowed to keep them.
Another crucial feature is the legalization of interstate gaming and player pooling, even on an international level.
Two other proposals may also land on lawmakers’ plates this summer: Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) will table a poker-only bill in July, while Harry Reid himself may cook up a modified version of last year’s initiative.