Newly Proposed Federal Bill Contains Online Poker Carveout

CongressAccording to Nevada journalist Jon Ralston, a new bill is “being floated around DC” that would ban online gambling with the notable exception of online poker.

Ralston posted a draft of the legislation, dubbed the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Control Act of 2014 on his RalstonReports.com website.

The bill has not been introduced at this time, and who is championing the bill, and by whom it was written is unclear at this time.

What does the bill say and do?

The rumored bill would ban most casino games from being offered on the internet, but would allow horseracing, online lotteries, and several UIGEA exemptions but surprisingly not fantasy sports*. Aside from fantasy sports these exemptions are similar to the ones proposed in the Sheldon Adelson backed Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) bill introduced in the Senate by Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and in the House of Representatives by Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).

Where the two bills differ is when it comes to games of skill, namely poker. Adelson’s RAWA bill prohibits online poker, while the new legislation seeks to separate games of chance from games of skill.

Similar to Reid/Kyl 2012

This new bill is similar to the Reid/Kyl proposal in 2012 (which was also floated in DC but never introduced), as well as falling in line with more recent comments made by Nevada Senator Dean Heller’s earlier this year.

Back in February Heller declared his support for a bill that would ban online gambling with the exception of online poker in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. At the time Heller also told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that fellow Nevada Senator Harry Reid may also be on board with a bill of this kind, saying, “There is no daylight between where Senator Reid and myself are on this particular issue,” indicating that Reid would also support a bill with an online poker exemption like the one being floated right now.

Bill comes in wake of AGA announcement

The new bill comes on the heels of the AGA’s decision to withdraw from the online gambling skirmishes in individual states and at the federal level, which may have given whomever is behind the bill the green light to introduce the legislation at this time, as the previous position held by the AGA would have forced the lobbying group to fight against a bill containing a ban on online casino games, even with an online poker carveout, at the behest of many of its members.

 *This article has been amended to clarify the exemptions contained in the bill. As Chris Grove indicated on Twitter, Dan Cypra of PocketFives.com has correctly pointed out that daily fantasy sports is not exempted from the bill draft. 

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