July 28th 2010 will go down in online poker history as a true landmark: it was the day federal lawmakers first viewed legal online poker in a positive light. The 41-22-1 vote that Barney Frank’s Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act received was a clear indication that a new era of online poker may soon be upon us. Does it mean online poker is just about to be legalized? By no means. It’s just a small step in the right direction, and on top of it one that needs to be taken with a grain of salt for several reasons.
Remember, Frank’s bill was never about just legalizing online poker in its current form (and neither were the other bills supported by the PPA). It was about taxation and regulation too, and while that is quite probably the only reasonable path to take towards legalization, its financial impact on the online poker industry may yet prove to be bigger than that of the UIGEA.

Just to give you an idea about what legal online poker would come hand-in-hand with, let’s sample a few of the amendments included in the bill (some of which are NOT supported by the PPA btw).
Legal and regulated online poker would mean that none of the sites which have ever intentionally violated federal or local US law would ever be given the chance to get a license. While that would pretty much kill both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, PartyPoker would probably re-emerge as the world-wide online poker powerbroker.

All facilities of the licensed sites would have to be located in the US, and the majority of employees would have to reside in the US too. Sports betting would remain prohibited. Credit cards would not be allowed for deposits.

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