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Online Poker Regulation Bill Comes to US Senate

A new bill in the US Senate proposes regulation and licensing of online poker, but not all the news is good for Internet gamblers as high taxation lies ahead with legalization.

Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey introduced a bill today to license and regulate online poker in the US. The new bill is similar to the House bill authored by Barney Frank, except Frank's bill would regulate online casinos and all Internet gambling other than sports betting, while Menendez's measure applies only to poker and games of skill.

Menendez proposes levying a 10 percent tax on all deposits at online poker rooms, to be split between state and federal collectors. Internet gaming operators are sure to pass the tax on to consumers, who may find regulation to be less desirable than they thought as they begin play 10 percent down at the start.

Menendez, like Frank, made sure his bill addressed the need for protection for underage and compulsive gamblers, as well as devices and requirements to guard against money laundering, identity theft, and fraud.

"With proper regulation, we can prevent minors from playing poker online, crackdown on predatory operations, and sanction the legitimate ones,” said Menendez. “Pulling Internet poker out of the shadows and into the light of the law, we have the opportunity to help our economy while protecting our families.”

Online casino insiders say they are worried that Congress may use Menendez's bill as a compromise solution to the Frank bill, leaving them in the cold while the more popular online poker rooms get preferential treatment. On the other hand, some commented that seeing how states have applied taxes and the suggested federal taxation, perhaps online gambling and its players are better off as a shadow industry.

Published on August 6, 2009 by JoshuaMcCarthy

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