Posts Tagged ‘#ReidBill’

#reidbill: A Haiku

by , Dec 6, 2010 | 11:07 pm

Tax cut extended
2+2 thread upended
#reidbill appended


Poker Partyline

Update from Pappas, the PPA, et Al D’Amato

by , | 5:38 pm

Was just writing a post highlighting a few places to bookmark for the week, including:

Everyone seems to be on pins and needles waiting to hear something … when along comes word over the transom from our good-good friends at the PPA, giving the update on where things stand in the halls of a lame-duck Congress as per online poker.

In a nutshell: We’ve been working toward this for five years. Don’t let Harrah’s take all the credit. Hang tight. We’re Blackberrying our asses off trying to get this thing right. Stay tuned, quit yer bitchin’, things change. And, of course, don’t forget to spend whatever political capital you may have telling your Congresspeeps why online poker regulation is the most awesomest thing since America and freedom!

Meanwhile, I set up a specific Pokerati tag for “UIGEA Repeal” so you could follow the most timely best from all Pokerati’s well-informed contributors as they posted … but alas, have since discovered a rather key error in that, technically, this unofficial Harry Reid Poker Bill wouldn’t repeal the UIGEA, but rather would strengthen it … still hopefully to the poker world’s liking, obv.

UPDATE: Indeed, Al D’Amato and the PPA are calling on YOU to contact your US senators. Assuming you believe in the overall cause of guaranteeing American freedom and much needed tax revenue via proper regulation of online poker, as espoused by D’Amato in the email blast titled “Tell your Senators to Support iPoker Regulation TODAY!” … click here to give online-poker proponents some numbers to bargain with when negotiating with other special interests.

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Detailed Legal Analysis of Reid Internet Poker Bill

Draft revealed: “The Prohibition of Internet Gambling, Internet Poker Regulation and UIGEA Enforcement Act”

by , Dec 3, 2010 | 10:21 pm

Stu Hoegner, our resident international gaming attorney here at Pokerati – a.k.a. @GamingCounsel as he is well-followed on Twitter – has located a copy of a document that has been widely requested by our readers in the past 24 hours.

Check it out -> Las Vegas Review Journal has placed the following draft copy of the Reid Internet Poker Bill on the web.

Hold on to your legal hats … here’s Stu’s detailed analysis of this draft copy of Reid’s bill.

******

This post is based on one version of the Reid bill that is circulating. There may be others.

The top-line provisions of the Prohibition of Internet Gambling, Internet Poker Regulation and UIGEA Enforcement Act (the “Bill”) are as follows. This is not an exhaustive analysis – it’s too soon for that and the participation of many others in that kind of exercise is required (and salutary).

1. Findings

The Bill acknowledges that Internet gambling has continued to flourish since adoption of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and that the UIGEA has been unable to stop operators from offering sports wagering and other forms of gambling. The Bill goes on to affirm the longstanding federal policy against interstate gaming on professional, scholastic, or amateur sporting events.

In the Bill, Congress finds that poker enjoys a long history and cultural tradition in the US. The Bill states that in the long run the outcome of poker is influenced by the skill of the participants and it distinguishes house-banked games (where wagers are made against a casino) from poker (where wagers are made between and among the participants).

The Findings section of the Bill clearly sets the stage for the licensing of Internet poker only, and the Bill goes on to do just that.

Congress also finds that a new federal Internet poker market “should be regulated by entities that have an established track record of providing a well regulated gaming market to American consumers” and “should be limited to service should be limited, at least initially, to service providers that have an established track record of complying with a strict regulatory environment, have an established track record of providing fair games to consumers, and have significant goodwill and assets at stake, in addition to their Internet poker assets, to ensure they will comply strictly with the new regulatory regime.”

Notwithstanding that the World Trade Organization decisions in the US-Antigua and Barbuda dispute are “erroneous,” the Bill asserts that the US should “conclude” the dispute in an orderly and expeditious fashion that respects World Trade Organization rules and the federal and State prerogative to restrict and control wagering on sporting events and games of chance.

2. Definitions

Some of the more important definitions in the Bill are set out below.

“Bet or wager” as used in the Bill has the same definition as under 31 U.S.C. §5362(1) (i.e., UIGEA) but excludes bets or wagers under the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978, bets or wagers that are intratribal transactions, and bets or wagers that are a chance to win a lottery or other game authorized by a state or a tribe that is an intrastate transaction as described under UIGEA.

We have a definition of poker in the Bill. “Poker” means any of several card games in which success over the long run is influenced by the skill of the player and

(A) that is commonly referred to as poker;

(B) that is played by 2 or more people who bet or wager against each other on cards dealt to them out of a common deck of cards

i. including games using community cards that any player may use to make his or her hand, and

ii. including games using electronic devices that simulate a deck of cards;

(C) in which players compete against each other and not against the person operating the game;

(D) in which bets or wagers of one player are often designed to affect the decision of another player in the game; and

(E) in which the person operating the game may assess a commission fee or any other type of fee.

Poker also includes poker tournaments in which players pay a fee to play against each other, including tournaments where the licensee guarantees a minimum tournament pot.

As a threshold matter, poker must be a card game where success over the long run is influenced by skill. This is an interesting definition that will generate a lot of discussion. How long is the long run and how many hands does it contain? How much skill need be involved if the skill of the player must merely “influence” success? Provided any particular iteration of poker that’s out there (and there are many) meet these various tests, it should qualify.

An “Internet poker facility” means an “Internet gaming facility” (also defined) that provides bets or wagers only with respect to a game, hand, tournament, or other contest of poker. Only persons operating Internet poker facilities under a license issued by a Qualified Body (see below) may be licensees under the Bill.

A “Qualified Body” means a State or tribal regulatory body that has been qualified by the Secretary of Commerce as provided in of section 8202(c) of the Bill (including entities qualified as a matter of law under subsection (c)(1)). This part of the Bill automatically qualifies state and tribal agencies as bodies qualified to grant licences that, among other things: currently regulate casino gaming and have done so for 5 years preceding the date of enactment of the Bill; have regulated casino gaming facilities involving gross gaming revenue of at least 5% of the total US casino gaming revenue for at least 3 out of the last 5 years preceding enactment of the Bill; are in states or on Indian lands that are opted in under section 8204 of the Bill (see below). Those not automatically qualified under section 8202(c)(1) can apply to the Secretary of Commerce for designation as a Qualified Body.

Finally, a “Significant Vendor” means an individual or entity that, with respect to a licensee or applicant under the Bill:

(A) knowingly manages, administers, or controls bets or wagers that are initiated, received, or otherwise made within the United States;

(B) knowingly manages, administers, or controls the games with which such bets or wagers are associated;

(C) develops, maintains, operates, the software, other system programs or hardware on which the games or the bets or wagers are managed, administered or controlled;

(D) provides the trademarks, trade names, service marks, or similar intellectual property under which the licensee identifies its Internet Poker Facility to its customers in the United States;

(E) provides any products, services, or assets and is paid a percentage of gaming revenue by the licensee in order to do so; or,

(F) with respect to an applicant, proposes to provide any of the activities, services or items identified in (A)-(E), above.

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Reid Online Gambling Bill: Inside The Draft

UIGEA strengthened; foreign sites wanting US license must obey

by , | 3:47 pm

As word that Harry Reid was authoring his own poker/casino-friendly bill repealing UIGEA filtered through the press today, people in the poli-poker world have been itching for a look at the draft filtering around Capitol Hill.

Fortunately, the global gaming consultants at Gambling Compliance have not only had eyes on this constantly-changing document, they also have had ears on Capitol Hill itself.  The analysis of the Reid Online Gambling Bill by folks in-the-know is available on their website for paying subscribers.  Although a portion of the document summarizes stuff we learned from the Wall Street Journal article posted late yesterday, there is is a huge amount of new (and compelling) info from what we had available last night.  Probably the biggest surprise is a strengthening of the UIGEA mentioned the text of the leaked Reid bill, and not the complete repeal per early reports.

Top Ten Facts From Inside The Draft ->

1.  The “entities controlled by” casinos, race tracks, and slot makers would be “immediately eligible” to get licenses for online poker.  How soon is not clear.

2. The bill prohibits new US licensees initially from “pooling any player liquidity from any international poker networks.”  I’m not exactly sure what this means, but my take is that US licensees would not be able to pull in bankrolls from Full Tilt, Poker Stars, UB, or any foreign poker gambling site for some period of time.

3. US Department of Commerce would oversee regulation, but “the most well established” state and tribal authorties would gain power over “licensing, investigatory, and enforcement” issues.

4. US online poker operators would need to pay a ostentatious rake licensing fee on monthly customer deposits, “possibly as high as 20 percent.” Revenue to be split between feds, state that the poker player lives in, and the state the company operates from.

5. Spoiler! Bill wants “beef up enforcement” of UIGEA by requiring Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to submit a blacklist of “unlicensed Internet gaming enterprises” to the US Secretary of the Treasury.  Wasn’t this supposed to be an anti-UIGEA bill?

6. All current sites accepting bets from US resident better stop doing it upon bill passage if they ever “wished to participate in a legal US market.”

7.  In the draft version Gambling Compliance saw, the first US online poker operators could not get their licenses for at least 15 months.  After the 15 month period, there would be a 2 yr period where the US Department of Commerce could decide if they even wanted to open up the market to include those beyond established US gaming entities.

8. Collegiate scholarly types think there is some *serious* preferential treatment in this draft given to the largest state agencies such as Nevada and New Jersey, giving them automatic qualification and a jump on prospectives.

9. Tribals are pretty unhappy with the language of the draft, touting an analysis around around DC which states the bill is “rigged to ensure that Nevada immediately becomes the licensing hub, and that tribal gaming authorities will never be able to qualify.”

10. Clarification is given that both online betting for horse races, and intrastate internet sales of lottery tickets do not violate the 1961 Wire Act.

Keep in mind this bill is a rapidly “moving target”, peeps.  The lame duck session is set to continue at least through the end of next week; final draft of the Reid bill seems unlikely until the end of Congressional session.

In the words of John Pappas, Executive Director of the PPA, “Anyone who says he knows what the bill will be doesn’t know anything.”


Opposition to Possible UIGEA Repeal Mounts

by , | 1:19 pm

So as we thought might-could happen (April, June), Harry Reid (D-NV) is pushing repeal of the UIGEA a way to shore up America’s net bottom-line. I get the feeling the re-empowered Senate Majority Leader was hoping this poker-only proposal could be a last-minute slip-in, a la the UIGEA. But that possibility now seems moot, with the issue officially on the DC radar.

The opposition is rallying the troops to squash any dreams of a poker-industry Christmas present. Check out the letter below, sent to Reid and Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) by Reps. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Dave Camp (R-MI), and Lamar Smith (R-TX), the ranking members in the powerful Financial Services, Ways & Means, and Judicial Committees, respectively.

The CC list includes influential Republican online gambling haters Kyl, Boehner, Cantor, and Pence — so you can see how it’s essentially a call to arms to the Republican party to sink this ship before it leaves port … or should we say port security?

Expect gloves to come off in congressional backrooms and in-boxes. The letter points out bipartisan opposition to HR 2267, even though it sailed through its 2010 committee vote with more bipartisan support. What it doesn’t point out — beyond the general issues of more tax revenue while protecting American liberty and supporting the will of the people — is how:

  • regulated online poker will create American jobs — 10s of thousands of them
  • Ron Paul has repeatedly supported efforts to repeal the UIGEA, a note to Tea Party voters who really wanna believe in sensible government, so they know this isn’t your usual government expansion
  • “Poker-only” is probably a safe compromise — that legal American businesses support and stands to have the most immediate positive impact with least possible likelihood of damage (since so many millions of Americans already play)

Camp-Smith Ltr to Reid and McConnell (1)


Reid Circulates Casino-Approved Poker-Only Draft to Repeal UIGEA

by , Dec 2, 2010 | 8:58 pm

Reid, backed by casino companies that “were among the Democrat’s biggest donors during his fierce re-election fight”, is currently passing a draft-version of his own brand new internet gambling bill around Capitol Hill this week.

The Wall Street Journal published an article today that is must-read for anyone who has been following the (wait-wait-and-wait) saga of legalizing online poker; check it out here -> WSJ.com|Reid Backs Legalizing Web Poker.

Key components of the draft-version of the Reid internet gambling bill:

1. Overturn UIGEA.

2. Provide legislation for poker-only.

3. Limit legal internet gaming to “allow only existing casinos, horse tracks and slot-machine makers to operate online poker websites for the first two years after the bill passes.”  It’s unclear what they are proposing to do with Full Tilt, Poker Stars, Ultimate Bet and the like “rogue” offshore sites during the time-out.

4. Outsource oversight of internet gambling to the *state* government.

5. Earmark revenue on wager to both state and federal governments.

The Vegas B&Ms had this to say on their confidence that new “one-size-please-all” Reid bill might navigate it’s way through the 111th Congress before the end of the lame duck session:

“Alan Feldman, a spokesman for MGM Resorts International, a large Las Vegas-based casino company, said he hoped such a bill had a possibility of rushing through in the next few weeks. ‘A lot of things happen in this kind of time frame,’ he said.”

@ppapoker tweeted the link to the article at about 8p EST/5p Vegas tonight.


Senate GOP Vows Halt to All Lame Duck Action

UIGEA proponent Jon Kyl co-authors pledge

by , Dec 1, 2010 | 3:44 pm

This morning, Harry Reid received a letter in which the Senate Republicans have pledged to halt all action on lame duck legislative items until a deal is reached on tax cuts.  In this Nov 29 letter to Reid, signed by all 42 GOP Senators, Republican Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) penned the following:

“… we write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke closure on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers. With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate’s attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike.”

Jon Kyl has been an important anti-gambling figure in the poker-politico scene, maintaining his objections to internet gambling since his election to Senate in 1994. He was a key figure in the passage of UIGEA, and stands strong against the act’s repeal.  Notably, “angry about the Treasury’s role in delaying the enforcement of the UIGEA”, Kyl blocked US Treasury officials from taking office this past February.  He is also a key supporters of the controversial internet domain blacklist bill – the Combatting Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA).  Perhaps the Homeland Security knew that all such lame duck actions would be stalled by the GOP when they preemptively seized 82 “illegal” domains last week under the moniker: Operation Our Sites II.

A video of Reid’s reaction to the Kyl/McDonnell filibuster was published on the SenateDemocrats YouTube channel today.

According to an article on the filibuster published in The Hill, “McConnell and other congressional leaders met with President Obama at the White House Tuesday to try to reach a deal on the tax cuts.” In Reid’s video, he states that Kyl has been chosen by the Republican party to represent them in these negotitations.  Reid has selected Max Baucus (D-MT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, to represent the Dems.

A number of measures, in addition to COICA and the completely dead HR 2267, that have been hoping for motion during the last session of the 111th Congress, are the DREAM Act (immigration reform bill), extensions on the nation’s unemployment benefits, a repeal of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell”, and the long-stalled nuclear arms START treaty.

Everyone can rest safely on one account: @SenatorReid tweeted today that the bipartisan food safety bill made it in just under the wire.