Massachusetts House Poker Amendment Nod
Republican Representative Daniel Winslow made an amendment to a bill that aims to develop land based gambling in the state of Massachusetts. With 123 votes against 32 the bill was passed in the House. eGaming experts warned that there’s nothing to cheer about at this stage. It is only the first step hurdle that’s been removed in a tedious process.
The vote in the Massachusetts Senate is the next step; on the 26th of September legalization issues will be addressed. The internet poker amendment that if it is dropped by the Senate, will most probably not be included in conference, which seeks to weed-out any irregularities between the versions of the bills passed in the House and in the Senate. Afterward Governor Deval Patrick must then sign it into law.
The law dictates that the Massachusetts gaming commission must establish a committee to analyze and develop recommendations and model legislation for the issuance of internet poker licenses, taking into account current federal and state laws. By the end of July 2012 the committee will release its report.
Should the committee not be in favor internet poker it will die a premature death. If the committee recommends that the state of Massachusetts should license and regulate internet poker, then the proposal must be first approved by the legislature and the governor. Should all go according to plan, the earliest that state licensed internet poker rooms will go live in late in 2013.
Presently proponents have called for the federal regulation of internet poker. This follows shortly after the U.S Attorney Preet Bharara made the statement that Full Tilt Poker’s owners were running an international Ponzi scheme valued at $300 million. Full Tilt Poker is one of the internet poker rooms that were targeted on Black Friday; in spite of the go-ahead from the Federal authorities they were unable to return player deposits. Bharara filed immediately filed an amendment to the Black Friday civil suit stating that 20 of the owners and shareholders paid themselves up to $443 million leaving the players with absolutely nothing.
In response to Bharara’s comment, The American Gaming Association (AGA) president Frank Fahrenkopf had the following to say, “I have two simple questions: ‘How much and for how long?’ How much money that we don’t know about is being swindled from U.S consumers and how long will it take before we change laws to protect those consumers?” The AGA just released its internet poker Code of Conduct highlighting six principles internet casinos must keep to in order to be licensed at federal level.[addtoany]