With everyone's eyes set on the happenings in Washington this summer, poker players' hopes of online poker being finally legalized are possibly at an all time high since Black Friday hit. As the bipartisan Super Committee formed by Congress faces the task of saving $2 trillion dollars in 10 years, online poker regulation appears to be one of the key ingredients that would allow the government to supplement the budget without raising taxes.
Super Committee's main and the only objective is to come up with a plan to address the budget deficit. The committee was created by S.365 – the budget control act of 2011 which was signed into law August 2nd. The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) believes that this will bring a huge opportunity for online poker to become licensed and regulated.
The bill to legalize online poker has already been introduced by Rep. Joe Barton and is widely promoted by the PPA to members of Congress in order to gain more support for the bill and push it as one of the measures to reduce the budget deficit by the Super Committee.
The Committee consists of 12 members: Six coming from the Senate and six from the House. Both Democrats and Republicans have an equal number of votes in the committee which means they will need to work together in order to reach a compromise and balance the budget. The 12 members include Democratic Senators John F. Kerry (Mass.), Patty Murray (Wash.) and Max Baucus (Mont.), Republican Senators Rob Portman (Ohio), Patrick J. Toomey (Penn.) and Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Democratic representatives Xavier Becerra (Calif.), James Clyburn (S.C.) and Chris Van Hollen (Md.), and Republican representatives Dave Camp (Mich.), Jeb Hensarling (Tex.) and Fred Upton (Mich.). According to the PPA's congressional ratings, “only Upton, Clyburn, Becerra and Van Hollen all have "B" grades. Kyl and Camp have grades of "F," with the rest of the line-up being “unrated.”
One member of the Super Committee, Republican Senator Jon Kyl, has a notorious reputation among poker players which he earned by blocking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's effort to include an online poker proposal into must-pass legislation last year. However, later on Kyl had eased his position by saying that he would “consider efforts to legalize online poker if other aspects of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act are strengthened.” He has since finally joined Reid in promoting online poker which has given the U.S. poker community hope that by working together the two Senators would achieve the goal of online poker being legalized.
Increasing the federal revenue by $15 to $20 billion in 10 years without raising the taxes seems like a good plan and that is what the U.S. government would gain by licensing and regulating online poker. The PPA claims it is working hard on promoting HR2366, Rep. Joe Barton’s bill among the members of congress – it would also aid in reducing the budget deficit by the Super Committee.
The HR2366 hearing should take place this fall at the Energy and Commerce Committee during which the PPA hopes to gain even more support for the bill among members of congress. The Alliance claims that it has already gained significant support through constant communication with members of congress via email, social media, letters, and participation during the PPA fly-in.
Although the organization admits that the events of April 15th – Black Friday – had a negative effect on their efforts to draw more politicians to their side and caused some confusion, the PPA feels confident and continues to promote online poker in Washington D.C. and believes their work will produce a positive impact.