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  • December 4, 2020

Online Poker Regulation Changes Possible

There is no question that online poker is becoming a success nationwide. The format has become the lifesaver for a part of the gambling industry that, prior to the Internet, was in a deep slide and losing traction fast. Even with the TV competitions, traditional poker was not holding on and replacing it’s older players with brand new younger ones. However, the online side of things has reversed that trend and is boosting a years-long decline in U.S. casino businesses. And that has regulators paying attention.
Background
The primary permission that allowed online poker to keep being played online was spelled out in the unlawful internet gambling enforcement act of 2006. The federal defined online poker as permissible if a state passed a state law allowing it. So far only two states have engaged: Delaware and Nevada. Because the feds left it to the states to work out the particulars, the potential for 50 sets of rules is quite high. California may be next testing ground with the case of the __ tribe who are stating they will go ahead in California’s silence. Ideally, a federal blanket rule across the land would be the easiest situation on its face, but that’s unlikely to occur. Because the feds recognized the states’ rights to determine gaming details, tinkering now at a national level could be argued as a Constitutional violation of states’ rights.
Interstate Regulation
To solve the problem of doing business 50 different ways to Sunday, a different idea is cropping up: interstate regulation. Generally, this model would allow states with existing online poker regulations to combine their markets, creating a larger gambling pool with more players combined. In a sense, it would work similar to the mega-lottery games played by multiple states for multi-million dollar pots.
The idea has some drawbacks. There would still be variation between different states and their particular rules. Casinos and site owners would still need to obtain multiple licenses, one for each state they operate in. On the flip side, however, they gain a bigger income potential, and the states standardize their approach with partners, improving a lucrative tax revenue stream for their local coffers. There is, of course, the risk that the feds could step back in, but again they would have to face the issue of interceding on states’ rights, which could be a battle royale in court when the states start to make big money off their viable gaming programs.

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