There was an air of excitement during National Poker Week when it was announced that Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) would soon introduce legislation that would legalize and regulate online poker. Well the time has come as the Dow Jones Newswire broke the story yesterday that Menendez would introduce his bill on Thursday.
Menendez has been a strong supporter of Internet poker, often working closely with House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank to battle against the UIGEA. Frank was set to introduce his own Internet gaming bill in July, but because of the ongoing financial crises in the U.S., that was delayed until September.
The bill being introduced by Menendez is different from Frank’s bill however. This piece of legislation focuses completely and specifically on Internet poker, whereas Frank’s bill covers other forms of online gaming, such as online casinos. The specifics of Menendez’s bill will not be completely known until it is released later today, although it is known that it will seek to legalize, regulate and tax online poker in the United States.
It is expected to establish the necessary framework to allow Internet poker companies to apply for license to operate within the U.S. It would also focus on protecting American consumers by requiring proof of age and ensuring that state laws are followed. There is no intent to overturn any state law already in place. They would also be required to protect against compulsive gambling as well as provide fair games and guard against money laundering and fraud.
As far as taxation, it is reported that the bill will call for a 10% tax on all deposits made by U.S. players. This tax would be split evenly between the federal government and the states. It is not yet known if this would be shared among states that prohibit online gaming. There is also a lot of speculation on how this will affect the players. Hopefully more will be known later today, once the bill is public and all of the information can be analyzed.