Tennessee -- A last-minute effort by Senate Majority
Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) to pass internet gambling legislation
succeeded on Friday, September 29, 2006, leaving the future
of the industry in the United States in doubt. The President
is expected to sign the Safe Port Act, to which the internet
gambling legislation is attached. The implications and
effects of this last-minute jockeying will likely not
be known in the immediate future.
and industry leaders are shocked by the events and are
now faced with the arduous task of informing the millions
of Americans who will be affected.
Frist first tried to attach the gambling legislation to
a Department of Defense report, but the addition was deemed
"not germane" by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI),
a member of the Armed Services Committee. In addition,
Senator John Warner (R-VA) opposed its addition on any
defense bill. This opposition by two key Senators, one
on each side of the isle, seemed to indicate that the
legislation was all but dead.
Monday, September 25, 2006, the National Right for Online
Gaming (NROG) first reported that the internet gambling
legislation was in the clear: "The National Right
for Online Gaming (NROG) confirmed today that Senator
Bill Frist's attempt to push through an online gambling
ban before Congress breaks for elections has failed and
no more action will be taken in the coming days,"
said a NROG press release. Michael Bolcerek, President
of the online poker lobbying group, Poker Players Alliance,
was still in a "wait and see" approach at the
Friday afternoon, September 29, 2006, word broke that
Senator Frist had reached an agreement to put internet
gambling language into the Safe Port Act. Much of the
language dealt with payment options to internet gambling
sites; the internet gambling legislation did not appear
to contain language that updated the Wire Act of 1961.
Around midnight Eastern time, the House of Representatives
passed the legislation by an overwhelming margin; the
Senate passed the accompanying legislation by "Unanimous
bringing the internet gambling legislation to fruition.
legislation does not take effect immediately and internet
gambling enthusiasts and online poker players countywide
should not panic. "This legislation is quite vague
in terms of its implications on payment options for those
wanting to gamble on the Internet," said PocketFives
Marketing Director Dan Cypra. "The future of Neteller
and Firepay, both offshore companies, remains to be seen."
Jay Bailey, Membership Director of the NROG claimed, "From
everything we have seen regarding this bill, it looks
like Neteller and Fireplay may be safe." The Attorney
General's office now has a period of 270 days to determine
exactly the extent to which the internet gambling legislation
will affect this multi-billion dollar industry enjoyed
by millions of Americans.
best thing we can do is be educated on what this bill
will and will not do," said Cypra. "It is important
to remain calm and remain informed."
PocketFives will continue to update its members and visitors
on the implications of the internet gambling legislation.
It is in constant communication with the Poker Players
Alliance (www.pokerplayersalliance.org) and the National
Right for Online Gaming (www.nrog.org). "Please continue
to visit PocketFives for all the updates and information
on this dark day in the world of internet gambling."