R.I.P. ‘The Reid Bill’ – US Congress halt online poker legislation

R.I.P. ‘The Reid Bill’ – US Congress halt online poker legislation

Thursday, 16 December 2010

After more than a week of hype, buzz and speculation over the future legal state of online poker in the United States, the US Congress has thrown out the so-called “Reid Bill” proposing to legalise online poker in America; attached to a larger bill in the same way the UIGEA passed in 2006.

This is good news and bad news, since had the bill been approved the future legal online poker landscape for the USA could have been very different to one we imagine. A fifteen month “blackout” was proposed where no US citizen could play online poker, followed by a potential two year ban on offshore sites. This was so that brick and mortar poker rooms could catch up with online poker sites, as Harrah’s have been planning with WSOP.com offering real money games outside of the US.

Some criticise the fact that Reid’s support comes largely from the land-based casinos in Nevada and that his bill supports them but a large percentage of the online poker community across the Atlantic disagree, claiming that the blackout period would be worth it for a new and possibly bigger poker boom. However, bear in mind that 39 months is an eternity in online poker terms; that long ago Paradise Poker and Party Poker were the world’s largest poker sites.

With that last-gasp effort done, the state of online poker in the US returns to its uneasy and unwanted plateau. States such as California and New Jersey will surely continue to try and push for intra- or inter-state gambling laws online while the Poker Players’ Alliance will continue to campaign for legal and regulated online poker.

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