International edition
June 22, 2021

The proposed legislation would overturn controversial UIGEA laws

US Senator considering online poker legislation

(US).- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, from Nevada, is preparing to introduce a bill that would legalize online poker play. The bill has the backing of Nevada’s powerful gaming industry, a sector that has long been opposed to most expansions of online gambling.

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t is unclear as to whether Reid expects to bring the matter to a vote during the current “lame duck” session of Congress. Lame duck sessions are those that occur after elections, but before the next Congress takes power in January.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the proposed legislation would reportedly overturn the controversial UIGEA laws which prevent banks from processing transactions between online gambling sites and players.

The bill – currently in draft form – may also restrict access to running online poker sites in the United States to existing casinos, horse tracks and others in the domestic gambling industry. Oversight would be provided at the state level, rather than by any federal body. Taxes would be collected for both the federal and state governments.

While it is unclear what chances the bill would have of becoming law during the lame duck session, supporters appear more hopeful for this attempt than during previous legislative efforts towards liberalizing online gambling policy that have been made in recent years. Part of this optimism comes due to the support of Senator Reid, due to his powerful position in the US Senate. According to the WSJ report, one tactic under consideration is attaching the legislation into another bill – the same tactic that led to the ratification of UIGEA in the first place.

While the proposed legislation has many supporters, there are some who see the lame duck session as an inappropriate time to push forward a bill on such a controversial topic. Three Republicans in Congress sent a letter to Senator Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), stating their opposition to any attempt to pass the Internet poker bill during the lame duck session.

"Congress should not take advantage of the young, the weak and the vulnerable in the name of new revenues to cover more government spending," the letter said.

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