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US Online Poker Regulation Talk Cools As Holidays Approach

The holidays are approaching rapidly, and for some online poker players, their wish list was simple. All these players want is a place to enjoy the game of poker from the comfort of their own home, where they can win and lose money while being protected by the government.

US lawmakers have taken a step in that direction in 2011, with many who previously opposed online gambling regulations swapping their stance. The backlash from the Department of Justice indictment against executives from Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars caused much of the stance swapping, with legislators coming under fire from their local constituents.

The push was strongest near the end of the summer, when several bills were proposed that would have regulated online poker had they been passed. None of the bills, however, made it out of committee, and now it appears as though the issue is dead until 2012, much to the chagrin of the US poker players and the overseas companies waiting to break into the US market.

"The momentum was strong after the indictments," said CGW Gaming Analyst Brad Dawkins. "But much of the momentum has cooled, and now lawmakers appear to be placing the issue on the back-burner. It looks like nothing will happen this year, and with Rep. Frank retiring, next year may not be happening as well."

Rep. Frank has been the biggest proponent of online gambling in the Legislature, and he announced earlier this year that he will not seek re-election. The loss of Frank leaves a void in the spot where a gaming activist once sat. Fortunately for online gamblers, dozens of lawmakers have lined up in favor of regulations, and now it seems like a matter of when, not if, regulations will be drafted in the US.

"It may not happen this year, or even early next year," said Dawkins, "But by all accounts, regulation will be coming soon."

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