U.S. Representative Peter King has introduced a bill into the House of Representatives which would legalize online poker and internet based casino games throughout the United States.
The bill, which is dubbed the "Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2013" would only keep cyber sports betting from being legal while bringing internet poker and casino games to the American masses.
If signed into law, the bill would create a federal Office of Internet Gambling and Oversight, which would operate within the U.S. Treasury Department. Age and identity verifications would help keep problem and underage gamblers from participating in online betting.
In order to appease states who are opposed to internet gambling, King's bill would allow individual states to opt out of internet betting. Tribal groups could also opt out if desired.
King, a Representative from New York said in a statement that: “A common federal standard will ensure strong protections for consumers, protect against problem and underage gambling, and make it easier for businesses, players, lawmakers and regulators to navigate and freely participate."
“It (online gambling) is not uniformly regulated, the operators are not licensed, and consumers lack protection from fraud and abuse. With states approaching this issue piecemeal, it can lead to conflicting or inconsistent laws from state-to-state, varying levels of consumer protection, and a perverse incentive for a race-to-the-bottom on standards to attract gaming operators and revenues.”
Additionally, King says that the bill will “...apply tough penalties to unlicensed operators… to put them and their off-shore, untaxed, unregulated services, out of business, forever” and to “shut down money launderers and criminals seeking to use internet gambling to move funds.”
Internet betting is a big industry throughout much of the western world, and financial firm Morgan Stanley has estimated that legalized online betting in the U.S. would generate $9.3 billion in revenue by 2020.
Industry reaction to the bill has been initially mixed, with the Poker Players Alliance voicing support, the American Gaming Association not giving any support, and various casinos opposing the bill.
As always, Casino Listings will keep this story updated and inform you of any updates.