Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.More articles by Aaron Todd
Rep. Barney Frank's (D-Mass.) proposal to regulate Internet gambling in the U.S. has received a mixed reviews from the online gambling industry.
Frank's plan calls for regulated companies to ensure gamblers are at least 18 years of age and in a jurisdiction that allows betting. Licensees would also need to demonstrate that they could combat fraud, money laundering and compulsive gambling, and ensure that all taxes and fees would be paid.
The bill would allow states and Indian tribes to control gambling activities within their borders, and sports leagues would be able to opt-out of allowing bets on their contests.
Frank, who serves as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, has long been an opponent of legislation that limits the ability of Americans to gamble on the Internet.
"I think it's one of the worst laws we've ever passed," said Frank in an interview with Casino City. "I think a lot of people (in Congress) are starting to have second thoughts."
Former Senator Alfonse D'Amato, the chairman of the Poker Players Alliance, hailed the bill as "a common sense approach to Internet gaming."
But Eye On Gambling, a Web site focused on sports betting, railed at the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2046). "The Act is limited in scope, and by no means represents a green light to allow offshore gambling companies back into the U.S." a story on the site read soon after Frank unveiled the bill.
"(The bill) certainly is useful in that it brings up the issue for discussion," said Joseph Kelly, professor of Business Law at Buffalo State. "But do I think that there's much chance of passage? Absolutely not."
Kelly believes that Congress would not legalize Internet gambling without objective data. He says that commissioning a study on Internet gambling is the next logical step, and then, depending on the results, Congress could move to regulate Internet gambling.
"I think we need to put the horse before the cart," Kelly said. "(Congress) would like to see some objective data that the Internet can be regulated so that you can keep out the under aged, minimize compulsive gambling and make sure that all the licensees are suitable and solvent."
Regardless of the chances of the bill's passage, this is the first good news for U.S. based gamblers since the UIGEA passed last year. And with that it mind, it's worth taking a look the potential winners and losers if this bill passed in its current form.
That's right, the biggest winners aren't Internet gambling companies, nor is it the Internet gambler. It's states, and states' rights. Gambling has traditionally been regulated by states in the U.S., and this bill gives states the power to decide whether or not they will allow people within their borders to make wagers on the Web. More importantly for the states, it will establish a system that will provide revenue through taxes on licensees and winners.
There couldn't be a bigger loser in the IGREA than Internet sportsbooks. The clause that allows sports leagues to opt out would surely be used by the NFL and the NCAA, the two most gambled on leagues in the U.S.