New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez has introduced legislation that, if passed, would establish a legal framework to license and regulate online poker in the United States.
The Internet Skill Game Licensing and Control Act of 2008, also known as Senate 3616, would amend the current law to ‘provide for the licensing of Internet skill game facilities’. The Act defines an online skill game as ‘an Internet-based game that uses simulated cards, dice or tiles in which success is predominantly determined by the skill of the players, including poker, bridge and mahjong’.
“This is really a bill that poker players could love,” said John Pappas, Executive Director for the Poker Players Alliance.
“It’s written to directly help the online poker playing community to establish licensed and regulated poker in the US. We believe that it is a great marker for the next Congress and the new administration.”
If passed, the Secretary of the Treasury would be responsible for prescribing licenses along with the safeguards, regulations and testing mechanisms necessary to license online ‘skill games’ within 180 days of a vote. In addition, it would be responsible for monitoring licensed sites in order to guarantee that firms are following the rules and games remain fair. The proposed legislation also gives states and aboriginal lands the right to refuse their citizens access to the Federally licensed sites.
In order to receive a license, the government would look at companies’ history of following laws in non-US jurisdictions along with their primary owners, financial holdings and corporate structure.
“One of the things that Senator Menendez really gravitated to is the fact that, under the current environment, consumers aren’t getting the protection that the deserve and he wanted to introduce a bill that would provide a regulatory framework that protected US consumers from fraud and abuse and also to ensure that children don’t get access to the websites and to protect problem gamblers as well,' said Pappas.