Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., said Tuesday she wants a House of Representatives committee to hold a hearing on the current state-by-state expansion of Internet gaming.
In a letter to both the chairman and the ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Titus said Congress needs to move quickly because Internet gaming is moving forward in several states, including Nevada.
“Previous efforts in Congress to create a national legal framework for Internet gaming have failed and states have moved ahead of Congress to develop these laws and accompanying regulations,” Titus wrote.
Nevada has legalized Internet poker and the first pay-to-play website, operated by Ultimate Gaming, a company majority owned by Station Casinos, has been accepting wagers since April 30. Other sites are expected to launch soon.
Meanwhile, New Jersey casino regulators hope to launch full blown Internet gaming — poker and casino games — by November. Internet gambling in Nevada and New Jersey is restricted to computers and mobile devices located within the state’s boundaries.
Delaware has also legalized Internet gaming and other states are exploring this issue.
Titus said the state-by-state approach allows certain “bad actors” to enter the market place. For example, Nevada excludes companies that accepted wagers from Americans after 2006 from applying for an interactive gaming license. New Jersey’s regulations do not contain that particular language.
“It is critical that Congress create a common sense regulatory framework to address this growing issue,” Titus wrote, adding that federal legislation would “ensure that consumers are protected.”
Two bills regarding Internet gaming have been introduced in Congress. In June, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., introduced an Internet gaming regulation bill that would allow all forms of online gaming. On July 11, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, introduced legislation that would legalize poker only.
In her letter, Titus didn’t take a stand on either bill. She only asked that the House hold a hearing similar to a session conducted last week by a U.S. Senate subcommittee that examined the expansion of online gaming in the U.S. with a focus on consumer protection.
Titus spokeswoman Caitlin Teare said the congresswoman was meeting leaders from the American Gaming Association to discuss the two proposals.
Contact reporter Howard Stutz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.