he legislation provides a licensing, regulatory and taxation framework to establish a legitimate online skill game industry in the US, while creating enhanced enforcement against those who accept illegal Internet gambling from the US.
Estimates show that more than us$ 3 billion in annual revenue could be raised for the US government, while the legislation would protect families through a crackdown on predatory online gaming sites that target minors.
"Pulling Internet poker out of the shadows and into the light of the law, we have the opportunity to help our economy while protecting our families," said New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez. "By bringing these games of skill into the mainstream, we can generate billions in revenue for businesses and the Treasury during these tough times. The safety benefits of the bill are particularly crucial."
"Parents are worried about their children falling prey to illegitimate gaming sites and thousands of Americans have been fleeced of millions of dollars by these sites. With proper regulation, we can prevent minors from playing poker online, crackdown on predatory operations, and sanction the legitimate ones."
Key provisions of the bill include mandatory implementation of technologies to protect against underage gambling and to monitor and detect individuals with excessive gaming habits, with dedicated funding to develop and implement prevention and treatments programmes for problem gamblers.
Applicants would be required to undergo a thorough review by the Department including the financial condition of applicant, business record, and background checks, with licence terms of five years in length, with renewals subject to the same requirements.
Licensed sites would pay a 10% tax on all deposits into playing accounts, the proceeds of which would be split evenly between the federal government and the government of the state where the player is situated.
The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group, commended Senator Menendez for introducing the Act. "Today's action by Senator Menendez is yet another powerful step towards protecting Internet freedom, protecting consumers and protecting online poker," said PPA Chairman and former Senator Alfonse D’Amato.
"The PPA is pleased that Senator Menendez chose to introduce his bill to license and regulate Internet poker and include additional consumer protections. His continued support for protecting the Internet freedoms of poker players specifically, and Americans generally, is greatly appreciated."