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Lame-Duck Session in Congress Good or Bad for Online Poker

Is the possible passage of gambling laws in the United States more favorable or less favorable now that Congress is in a lame-duck session? With the inability of Congress to agree on just about anything, it is hard to envision any situation that would guarantee a clear-cut legislative victory which would allow Internet gambling in the United States. But whether you voted for him or not, Obama’s reelection actually speaks volumes for the possibilities of getting some nationwide gambling laws passed before Congress reconvenes in 2013, possibly in 2012.

A lame-duck session in Congress occurs when Congress meets after a new successor has been elected. It also has to occur before that new successor’s term begins. Democrats have been much more favorable to possible nationwide and individual state run online gambling and online poker in the United States than Republicans as a whole, so on at least that one point, Obama’s reelection is a good thing. Also, with a Republican majority in the house simultaneous to a Democratic majority in the Senate, it appears the best possible scenario for pro-poker and pro-online gambling legislation exists in our current situation in the United States.

Of course, since the Department of Justice late last year decided to allow each of the individual states to decide their online poker destiny, any of the 48 states currently not offering online poker could do so at the state level. New Jersey, California and others have been pushing hard for their own online poker legislation to be passed, and as soon as Nevada and Delaware begin to actually shuffle up and deal online and the revenue numbers start coming in, more states in the US will no doubt adopt their own online gambling legislation. That positive picture, coupled with the best possible scenario at the legislative level during the lame-duck Congress session, provides the best possible scenario we have seen in some time for either individual US states or a nationwide online gambling legislative package.

There is undeniably a very small time frame for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ari.) to attach their bill to some form of must-pass legislation. However, as a rider on any piece of legislation that is agreed upon on both sides of the aisle, a national online interactive gaming legislation package could be approved rapidly, since many in Congress were voted out in 2012. They really do not need to answer to their constituents on such a non-invasive or security sensitive issue since they were elected out of office, and may sign for passage of the more important main piece of legislation, with online poker piggybacking.

John Pappas is the executive director of the pro-poker legislation group Poker Players Alliance, and he mentioned recently that while this new lame-duck session and Obama reelection is no slamdunk by any means, it is positive. He mentioned that, “we’ve got a lot of work to do,” referring to his organization as well as all pro-online poker parties in the United States. He said that his nonprofit organization has already been in touch with Congressional staffers and other important parties since the election. He also agreed that attaching any possible national pro-poker legislation bill to an important and agreed upon larger legislative vehicle is extremely important to receive passage, and would not rule out a US interactive gaming national piece of legislation  in 2012.