Online poker highlights: Federal bill introduced

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U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., introduced a bill that would regulate online gaming at the federal level. The bill, called the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2013, calls for all online gaming, with the exception of sportsbook betting, to be regulated and overseen at the federal level.

It calls for many of the same types of safety measures and checks and balances that states such as Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have implemented. Any state that has passed online gaming will be grandfathered into this law, should it pass through Congress. If any state doesn’t want to be part of the system, it would have to explicitly request to be opted out. Seeing how the issue of online poker is up and down across the country in many state legislatures, (largely based on issues such as where the revenues will go, who regulates the processes and who benefits from the regulations), it will be interesting to see how far this federal bill will get, having to wade through all of the lawmakers who are up for re-election this year and next.

NEVADA: Ultimate Poker has added several new pros to its roster of players: two-time WPT champ and senior Ante Up strategy columnist Jonathan Little, former Full Tilt pro William Reynolds and WSOP bracelet-winner Jason Somerville. They will be actively promoting the site this summer at the WSOP and will be playing a lot on the site.

Speaking of online sites, the WSOP has released its WSOP.com software for download, but is only working with play money until all regulatory hurdles are cleared. The site expects to go live with real money for Nevada residents this summer. It’s promoting the site at this year’s WSOP in Las Vegas by offering the chance to win free seats to WSOP events.

NEW JERSEY: The deal between PokerStars owners, Rational Group, and the Atlantic Casino has been dicey for the past couple of months after PokerStars failed to get a preliminary gaming license from the state of New Jersey. The Atlantic Casino used this information to back out of the deal. The court ruled the Atlantic Casino was within its rights to withdraw from the deal. When the deal was originally struck, the Atlantic Casino was close to going under, so the Rational Group said it would infuse $750K per week until the deal was done. Since then, the amount Rational has pumped into the Atlantic Casino has been more than $11 million. The sale price of the casino was $15 million. The Atlantic Casino is also asking for the remaining $4 million to be paid as a termination fee. More to come.

ILLINOIS: The bill that was on the docket in Illinois has been left out in the cold again.

CALIFORNIA: Once again, a bill has been introduced to the California Legislature that seeks to regulate online poker, and poker only. It is being brought to the state by a group of eight Indian tribal groups. It seeks to license operators who are tribal governments or cardrooms who have been in business for at least five years.

— Email Joel Gatlin at editor@anteupmagazine.com.