Legal U.S. Poker Update: Florida, California, Washington
The Governor of Florida, Charles Grist, just sign into law a mandate that online poker and its possible impact on intrastate commerce be studied in-depth, with the requirement that a report be issued as early as December 2009 detailing how the state can keep its residents protected from risky off-shore gambling operations, most particularly its under-age residents, as well as analyzing what risk, if any, online poker poses to Florida’s brick-and-mortar poker establishments.
The bill was, in part, drafted by the same organizations responsible for the online poker legislation being considered in California right now. A representative of those organizations (APV or American Poker Ventures and PVA or Poker Voters of America) it looks like the California Online Poker Law Enforcement Compliance and Consumer Protection Act won’t have any difficulty being passed. At last count, it looks like California can expect to earn some $250 million per year from the online poker industry if the state does end up deciding to license, regulate, and tax it.
Barney Frank’s two federal bills attempting to legalize poker and online poker in the U.S. again are picking up steam. Five more cosponsors have joined the 13 or so already on board, including a Republican, representative Don Young of Alaska. This is a big boon to the movement. Even Frank’s leading Republican opponent on the subject confesses that those bills have a much better chance of passing under the current Democratic majority in Congress than it did when first it passed before the Republican Congressional majority that existed previously.
Kentucky, California Both Seek Online Poker Wins, But in Divergent Ways
Online poker players across America breathed an enormous sigh of relief last week as one state government’s attempts to enforce an oppressive ban on internet gambling (including online poker) was handed a brutal and long-awaited legal defeat.
Kentucky is the state, Governor Steve Beshear the opponent of online poker players everywhere who was taken down a notch when the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that he was prohibiting from seizing the 141 domain names for internet gambling sites he had so fervently attempted to shut down for doing business in his state.
In a misguided attempt to keep all income earned from gambling conducted within his state’s borders, Beshear enlisted the support of the Franklin County Circuit Court last September in ordering that these 141 domain names be seized–in essence forcing numerous top poker sites (like Full Tilt Poker
) to close their cyber-doors and squelch operations in every other state in the union as well–under the argument that they “used to promote illegal gambling within the state” and as such, under the equally-oppressive UIGEA, were subject to forfeiture.
But thanks to valiant efforts on the part of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky, that ruling was overturned as Beshear’s accusation was, in fact, erroneous.
In other news, meanwhile, the state government of California is actually looking to get into the online poker market. Recognizing a desperate need to bring more money into the financially ailing state coffers, and acknowledging the economic promise inherent in online poker, California representatives will be holding a poker summit in mid-May to explore the possibility of–essentially–creating their own poker software (and perhaps even starting their own poker site?).
And as good fortune for both California and online poker players everywhere would have it, one of the forerunners of this apparently more fair and reasonable effort to compete with top poker sites rather than oppress them is none other than Joe Brennan, Jr., the Interactive Entertainment and Media Association founder whose trade organization headed up the very effort to stop the Kentucky Governor from seizing those 141 poker domains.