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U.S. Online Poker Players May Have to Wait 15 Months to Play and Lose Favorite Sites Still

7 December 2010 by admin

More and more details about Senator Harry Reid’s online gambling regulation bill are coming out. While there is a general ‘Huzzah!’ from online poker players and other fans of online gambling, some of the new details are instilling some disappointment from the U.S. players in the online gambling community. The disappointment comes from two points on Reid’s bill that will hamper online poker players, although I cannot say I was surprised when I heard them.

For starters players may have to wait fifteen months before they can play in any U.S. regulated online casino. This is because Reid says that it will take up to fifteen months for lawmakers to create and put into place the regulation. And it is not that players are the stopping point—according to the stipulations in Reid’s bill, online casinos seeking licenses in the U.S. have to cease accepting U.S. players within less than thirty days of the bill being passed.

At least Reid is showing his optimism in the bill’s passing.

Reid’s other stipulation does not surprise me at all given that he is from Nevada, and that Reid’s online gambling point of view changed once he was given major backing from the gambling industry—got to scratch the back of those who scratch yours.

Only casinos, as in brick and mortar casinos, that have been in operation five years or more can apply for a U.S. online gambling license. So the effectively knocks out competition from the new casinos that recently opened in the north east. But more effectively knocked out of competition are online poker sites such as Full Tilt and PokerStars who do not have a brick and mortar counterpart, let alone such a counterpart that has been in operation for the minimum five years.

So while Reid’s bill will eventually allow U.S. players to play poker online, it appears that they will only be able to play at sites run by the established casinos in Nevada. Very not surprising given the backing that allowed Reid to narrowly win the mid-term elections came from the gaming industry.

I have to say that it is kind of unfair to U.S. players. Yes, they will be able to legally play online poker, but their range of sites to play at is limited to a very small select number of casinos with online sites. To me this leaves open the potential for these brick and mortar run online casinos to offer house rules that do not favor players; and with no other choices of sites to play at, U.S. players are stuck with either playing at a weighted legal online casino, or skipping back over to an online casino at which they are not protected by U.S. law. That is if overseas online casinos continue to allow U.S. players; they may very well cease accepting them in hopes of gaining a U.S. online gambling license considering that no online casino will be approved for a license if they have accepted any U.S. players within thirty days of Reid’s bill’s passing.

At least this is a start to online gambling in the U.S. Perhaps once the foot is in the door other lawmakers who see the true value in regulating and taxing online gambling can shove the door the rest of the way open—as opposed to a man who is merely paying back those who have paid his way. The next forty eight hours are going to be very interesting. We shall see if Reid can get the kinks ironed out of his heavily weighted online gambling bill and get it attached to the recently agreed upon tax bill. It seems that online poker is on its way…eventually.

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