For the last few months a summary text of the Reid-Kyl Internet Gambling bill has been circulating through a small number of lawmakers and lobbyists - it has leaked this month.
The Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012 is the title of the bill and the draft bill is still in the works. Look for more changes by the time the legislature sees it.
For the benefit of the poker community PokerNews.com's Matthew Kredell has a summary that shows several segments that are going to be areas of concerns for poker players. The Summary:
- Not only does the bill strengthen the UIGEA against forms of Internet gambling outside of poker and horse racing, it changes the Wire Act and the Illegal Gambling Business Act to apply to all forms of unlicensed Internet gambling.
- States are automatically opted out of offering Internet poker unless they opt in by a majority vote of the state legislature. In the Reid bill two years ago, states that offered brick-and-mortar poker were automatically opted in. Tribes can only opt in if tribal lands are located within a state that has opted in.
- For the first two years, only existing land-based casinos of a certain size will be licensed.
- Websites (such as PokerStars) that offered Internet gambling in the U.S. following the enactment of UIGEA are prohibited from being licensed for the first five years after the enactment of the bill.
- Just like two years ago, there is a 15-month blackout period. This isn't as big of a deal since most people who did play in the U.S. stopped playing after Black Friday.
- Existing gaming that is authorized, licensed and regulated by states or tribes as of May 1, 2012, will be grandfathered in. Delaware, the only state to authorize Internet gambling thus far, passed the bill in June and has yet to start licensing and regulation.
- Playing on unlicensed sites will be explicitly illegal with winnings subject to forfeiture. This means players in opt-out states will not be able to continue playing on offshore sites.
The open bickering between Senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), as well as Dean Heller (R-Nev.) makes the passage of this bill by year's end a severe underdog.
There is a report up at Las Vegas Review-Journal that Reid wrote a letter to Heller and accused the Republican Nevada Senator of failing to gain Republican support for a bill that is paramount to the state. Kyl responded by saying Reid's letter and the political undertones it has created have made passing the bill more difficult.