Update on US Online Gambling Legislation – 70th Supporter Joins the Cause

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After the hectic reporting of the passing of the HR 2267 in the House Committee, news on gambling legislation is coming in more slowly this week. .The HR 2267 has got its 70th co-sponsor. The time gap between the 69th and the 70th co-sponsors was long but worth it. This is because the new support comes from a Republican, Congressman John Campbell from California.

Congressman Campbell was an active participant in last week’s House Financial Services Committee hearing of the bill. His focus was on consumer protection. Campbell stressed the need for online gamblers to set loss limits that would have to be adhered to by gaming operators, the need for gaming operators to display the winning odds on online casino games and the need to take adequate precautions against underage gambling.

The Congress will be breaking for summer recess on August 9. It will reconvene on September 10 and again adjourn on October 8 for the mid term elections.In Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick refused to approve legislation allowing for three land casinos and slot machines at two racetracks in the state. The House passed the bill with more than a two-thirds majority and the Senate passed it just two votes short of a two-thirds majority. The Governor had earlier suggested a compromise alternative to the bill, but he did a last minute about turn and sent the bill back to the Legislature.

It is unlikely that the Legislature will meet in this session to reconsider and vote again on the bill. Senate President Therese Murray has point blank refused to call her members back into formal session. House Speaker Robert DeLeo has blamed the Governor for vetoing the will of the House and the Senate. Earlier in the year Massachusetts was forced to drop the provision for allowing online gambling in this bill.In New Jersey, State Senator Ray Lesniak and the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) have challenged the Federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that prohibits sports betting.

The legal action has been filed in the District Court of New Jersey. Their contention is that this law exempts four states from its purview and allows them to tax sports betting and generate revenue. This according to Lesniak and iMEGA is discriminatory. Californian Senator Rod Wright, who is trying to legalize online poker in his state, has said that California is likely to join New Jersey’s legal challenge to the 18-year-old federal ban on sports betting. Earlier in the year New Jersey was unable to enact legislation allowing online casino gambling because of opposition from Atlantic City land casinos.