it seems as though online poker itself has been drawing dead ever since Black Friday

Anyone who’s ever played a hand of poker knows that there’s an element of momentum to the game: sometimes you can endure a lengthy cold deck of cards while other times you can go on a hot streak. Indeed, it seems as though online poker itself has been drawing dead ever since Black Friday. From the time the Department of Justice essentially shut down US online poker, there’s been little good news for American fans of the game to celebrate. Recent developments in the private sector and in various legislative bodies indicate, however, that the tide is about to turn in favour of legalising online poker in the United States, possibly as early as 2012.

Federal legislation

In all likelihood, as far as federal legislation is concerned, the next calendar year will just bring more of the same; case in point, the recent hearings on Capitol Hill prior to Thanksgiving. Both houses of Congress listened to testimony from individuals such as PPA Chairman Alfonse D’Amato and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass). No observable progress was made, however, with much of the testimony echoing what was debated in previous Congressional hearings on the matter.

The fact is that despite the positive attitudes and earnest efforts of online gaming advocates, they’re just not making much headway in their attempts to sway federal lawmakers in their favour. As with most traditionally contentious issues in the US, state governments seem to be far more nimble than their federal counterpart in terms of their ability to move forward and legislate one way or another.

State legislation

Nothing in the UIGEA specifically prohibits individual states from offering online gaming within their respective jurisdictions. Thus, while lacking the full effect of making online poker available to every American citizen, states at least have the power to offer it to their own residents (or specifically outlaw it, as with Washington State).

Whereas New Jersey was not too long ago just one signature away from being the first state to do this, Governor Chris Christie had other ideas. Lobbyists and lawmakers in other states, such as Iowa, Florida and California, have also spearheaded efforts to legalise intrastate online poker, but these too have not yet borne any fruit. Nevada, on the other had, seems headed in the right direction.
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