Wednesday July 24,2013 : ANOTHER CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ON INTERNET GAMBLING?
Washington DC politicians suddenly paying attention
After over a decade of disinterest by many of the politicians on Capitol Hill, online gambling appears to have caught the attention of at least some of them as individual states by-pass an indecisive and partisan Congress in pursuit of online gambling legalization
Last week the US Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance held a largely biased and surprisingly uninformed Senate hearing titled "The Expansion of Internet Gambling: Assessing Consumer Protection”, in which little that was new emerged, other than a desire for a federal solution by those participating.
This week the focus shifts to the House of Representatives, where Representative Dina Titus – a Nevada Democrat – burst into print Tuesday, urging the chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to hold a hearing to examine the current trend toward individual states doing their own intrastate thing in order to expand into online gambling.
Perhaps a little belatedly, given that online gambling has been on the agenda of many states since the Department of Justice's about-turn on the Wire Act almost two years ago, Titus acknowledges that individual states like Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware are leaving Congress and a federal solution behind as they move forward on legalization initiatives focusing on the popular pastime.
Rep. Titus does not appear to trust individual states to do the job properly, citing as one of her justifications for a hearing her belief that state regulators could allow undesirable operators to enter the online gambling in the United States – the now well known "bad actor" angle.
Although not specific on whether she supports online poker or more general online gambling, she believes that a federal solution is essential to create a common nationwide set of regulatory and licensing requirements in order to protect American consumers.
Rep. Titus has a choice of both internet poker only or internet casino and poker gambling at present – two bills have been introduced to Congress by New York Rep. Peter King (general online gambling) and Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, who wants to confine legalization to online poker only.
The American Gaming Association, which favours a federal online poker only approach, is to hold discussions with Titus and is possibly behind her push for a further hearing.