December 9, 2010
Washington, DC – Nevada Senator Harry Reid today made the following statement on the online poker bill he is working to pass.
“The online poker bill I am working on is good for the country and for Nevada. Under the status quo, Internet poker is played by millions of Americans every day in an essentially unregulated environment, meaning no protections for minors, no respect for State law, no assurance that games are fair and honest, and no one to turn to if you’re defrauded. Additionally, neither federal nor State governments collect a dime of revenue from this multibillion dollar Internet poker industry.
“The legislation I am working on would get our collective heads out of the sand and create a strict regulatory environment to protect U.S. consumers, prevent underage gambling, and respect the decisions of States that don’t allow gambling. Experienced regulators already trusted by millions of Americans will maintain oversight and reputable operators with proven track records will provide a secure gaming environment for Americans. Finally, the revenue and jobs from this multibillion dollar industry will stay where it belongs – here in America.
“I still have serious concerns about legalizing the broad range of casino-type gambling through the Internet. The bill I am working on would make all other types of Internet gambling clearly illegal, while increasing penalties and strengthening the ability of law enforcement to shut down illegal sites.”
Following is summary of the online poker bill:
Brief Summary of the Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2010
Online websites offering Internet poker and similar games have raised both consumer protection and enforcement concerns among Federal and State governments for over a decade. Millions of Americans play online poker regularly, yet there is no U.S. regulatory structure to ensure the games are fair, that operators are screening underage players, and to prevent Internet gambling in States that do not wish to allow it. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 was enacted to strengthen enforcement, but more is needed. The Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act would provide a strict new regulatory framework overseen by proven regulators:
Place a Tough New Ban on Online Gambling Generally
Substantially Strengthens Enforcement of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act
Strict Regulatory Framework for Internet Poker ONLY
Time-Tested Gaming Regulators
Specifically, under the new regulatory structure, the Secretary of Commerce would designate as “Qualified Bodies” state and tribal regulatory bodies with significant experience regulating gambling. The Secretary would ensure that these Qualified Bodies do not have conflicts of interest and meet minimum standards, based on the standards and practices used by the toughest and most experienced gambling regulators in the country. Additionally, the Office of Internet Poker Oversight, which is created by the Act, is designated as a Qualified Body for Indian tribes (though tribes may go to any Qualified Body). These Qualified Bodies would be the primary regulators and issuers of licenses. The Secretary would then serve as a backstop to oversee the Qualified Bodies and ensure there is no “race to the bottom” among regulators. No Qualified Body may issue a license for 15 months to ensure that all Qualified Bodies have an opportunity to get their regulatory regimes in place before any issue licenses issue.
Focused Regulators, Responsible Licensees
Hold Internet Poker Operators Accountable
Respecting State Decisions Whether to Allow Internet Poker
Respect the Role of Tribes in Gaming
Provide Much-Needed Revenue to States and Tribes
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