PokerStars applauds passage of the Internet Gambling, Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act
PokerStars issued the following press release this morning:
PokerStars, the world's largest poker site, welcomes news of the successful mark up of H.R. 2267: The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act in the House Financial Services Committee by an overwhelming, bipartisan margin of 41-22.
The bill, sponsored by Committee Chairman Barney Frank, offers a long overdue common sense approach to internet gaming regulation in the United States. PokerStars wholeheartedly supports the efforts of Chairman Frank and the bill's proponents.
This bill represents the most significant US legislative accomplishment in the history of the internet gaming industry. The Committee vote was one step in a road to passage of H.R. 2267 in the US Congress. Further steps are required and a great deal of hard work for the legislators lies in store.
It is important to note that H.R. 2267 was passed out of Committee with the addition of certain amendments. Two in particular warrant additional comment:
Representative Brad Sherman offered language accepted by the Committee which would in part render as unsuitable for licensure any person who fails to certify in writing that it and its affiliated business entities have never committed an intentional felony violation of Federal or State gambling laws.
Ranking Member Spencer Bachus and Representative Michelle Bachmann also sponsored an amendment, accepted by the Committee, which would in part render unsuitable for licensing any person who knowingly participated in illegal internet gambling activity after enactment of the UIGEA in 2006.
The UIGEA by its clear terms shall not be construed as "altering, limiting or extending any Federal or State law or Tribal-State compact prohibiting, permitting, or regulating gambling within the United States". Therefore, in light of the more comprehensive view on this point set forth in Rep. Sherman's amendment, the Bachus/Bachmann amendment, with its UIGEA timeline, appears redundant (as Ranking Member Bachus himself observed during the mark up).
Nevertheless, PokerStars supports the provisions in both amendments as neither would adversely affect the availability of a license for a respected operator such as PokerStars. As reflected in legal opinions provided to PokerStars, its activities in the US are and at all times have been lawful.
Paul Telford, PokerStars' General Counsel stated that "PokerStars maintains its strong support for H.R. 2267 and encourages the full House and ultimately the Senate to move quickly to secure passage during the current Congressional term. PokerStars, a pioneer in operating online poker under stringent regulatory frameworks, looks forward to working with incumbent and new operators in promoting a safe and healthy online poker industry in the United States, as it currently does under similar licensing models in Italy and France".