The American Gaming Association (AGA) has announced their intention to withhold support of the recent online poker bill proposed by Texas Congressman Joe Barton. Instead, the group will now seek to pen their own version of a poker legalization bid.
Officially, the legislation in question is known by the title of the Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2011. While the AGA’s objections to this long and complicatedly titled bill have yet to be laid out in black and white, there are a few minor quibbles which have floated to the surface. Foremost among these is the payment of user fees, a stipulation which Barton’s bill did not cover. The AGA believes that these small tributes should be collected by the federal government, though the intended spending of this money remains obscure.
Questions have also been raised about the regulation process on a state level. In the Barton bill, individual states would be allowed to opt out of the legalization process if their elected officials so desired. This could create an interesting dynamic across the nation, with some states gaining revenue from online poker sites while others are left to do without. The AGA apparently feels that this is the wrong way to go, though their alternative method of coping has yet to be announced.
This move marks something of a change in stance by the AGA, according to InternetPoker.co.UK. In a recent article, they stated that the organization “originally seemed mildly positive on the Barton bill, and it doesn’t appear as though they strongly oppose it. Originally, the group’s stance was to praise the bill’s attempt to properly regulate the industry, but not back any one bill in particular.”
The British poker site goes on to speculate that, due to the many complications involved in the potential legalization process, American players may need to wait a year or more before government-approved poker sites open their doors. If this time frame is indeed realistic, then the US market will be left to the devices of monthly-fee poker rooms, such as Gold Rush and Club WPT.