NFL No Longer Opposes Online Gambling and Poker Regulation
It is being reported on August 10, 2010 that the National Football League is no longer opposing Congressman Barney Frank’s (D-MA) Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act (HR 2267) that aims at legalizing online gambling and ending the use of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The NFL has held a long standing opposition against Congressman Frank’s bill due to its original legalization of online sports betting.
What Made the NFL Back the Regulation of Online Gambling
As already stated the NFL had long been opposed to HR 2267 because while it aims at regulating online poker it also sought to regulate and legalize online sports betting. After the House Financial Services Committee held its markup meeting of HR 2267 on July 28, the regulation of online sports betting was withdrawn from the bill and amended to prohibit companies from licensing companies that aim at sports betting. This new amendment to the bill did not include parimutuel racing, however, as it will be legal to bet on horse racing online.
Due to this major change in the legislation Brian McCarthy, the vice president of communications for the NFL, said that the NFL is “pleased with the outcome” of the committee meeting and that they no longer have any concerns about HR 2267. This move by the NFL has finally put to rest a four year battle between the online poker industry and the very influential National Football League.
History of the NFL and the UIGEA
In 2006 when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed, thus making it more difficult for Americans to play online poker, the NFL also battled for fantasy football to be exempt from the 2006 legislation. Once the NFL was able to take fantasy football out of the UIGEA they helped push the piece of legislation through while still being actively against the idea of regulating online sports betting.
Online sports betting has become very popular across the world as some of the largest online gambling companies like PartyGaming, TitanBet, and bwin are enormously popular around the world and especially in Europe. The NFL is seeking to keep as much betting out of the game of football as possible in an attempt to keep the game pure and impartial.
With HR 2267 now moving along the slow road to passing it is a relief to the online poker community to finally have a major adversary step back and now support the regulation of online gambling. The backing from the NFL may just be one small step out of countless in the road to regulation, but it is a welcome one to millions of American online poker supporters.