NCLGS draft Framework of Online Poker Regulation goes under microscope

After watching the majority of the nation’s online poker bills crash and burn on state and federal levels, gathering hope that the next online poker measure will be a success is akin to chasing rainbows to find a pot of gold. After three states passed regulations and launched online gaming markets 2013, all other efforts have stalled, failed or absolved entirely. However, a new policy framework from the NCLGS offers an interesting new approach that just might catch on.

I’m not getting my hopes up just yet, and I wouldn’t encourage anyone else to either, but the National Council of Legislator from Gaming States (NCLGS) holds a significant amount of influence in jurisdictions where state gaming control boards are present. What they’ve done is draft a Policy Framework for the Regulation of Internet Gaming. And if it addresses anything of ultimate importance, it’s the need to create a singular framework that all states who choose to regulate online poker can abide by.

Thus far, Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey are the only states to regulate online gaming, and they’ve all worked on their own to devise the regulations that power their individual markets. This type of legislative patchwork quilting has proved incongruous, and has actually helped to hold other states back from regulating online poker.

An excerpt from the Policy Framework’s introduction reads:

Committee to review NCLGS policy framework for online poker regulation
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NCLGS believes an effective regulatory and licensing system for states wishing to participate in online gaming should increase public trust and confidence in legalized gaming, inhibit wagering by underage or otherwise vulnerable individuals, ensure that any games offered through the Internet are fair and safe, contain enforceable restrictions on unlicensed online gaming operators, and create jobs and economic development. Specifically, the policy framework was developed to address the following key legislative priorities:

– foster effective regulation and cooperation among states
– promote strong, stable, and diverse state economies
– protect both states that wish to participate in Internet gaming and those who do not
– facilitate cooperation and information exchange among state policymakers and gaming regulators
– support uniformity in Internet gaming legislation while protecting states’ rights to regulate gaming within their respective states
– establish minimum “benchmark” requirements for states that wish to adopt Internet gaming
– support he establishment of strong consumer protection and responsible gaming standards
– research differing proposals and views regarding taxation and revenue sharing for interstate online gaming
– explore differing views on appropriate regulatory models and structures for Internet gaming


The draft policy addresses all major concerns brought up by lawmakers, as well as anti-online gambling advocates. These include such topics as player protections, problem gambling protections, taxation, licensing, enforcement, payment processing, regulatory authority, multi-jurisdictional agreements, game choice and legality, as well as age verification, geo-location and player identification.

For American online poker players, the topic of multi-jurisdictional agreements is a big one. They would allow shared liquidity between states, pooling players across state lines on individual networks and creating the larger poker sites like those we became accustomed to pre-Black Friday. The NCLGS pointed out that certain qualities of such compacts “do not require congressional consent”, and advised state lawmakers to craft interstate agreements that do not fall within the realm of requiring congressional consent.

A series of comments on the policy framework from interested parties were published by the NCLGS, resulting in several amendments to its original context. The edited online poker regulatory framework is scheduled to be reviewed by the State-Federal Relations Committee at the NCLGS Winter Meeting taking place at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel from January 9 – 11, 2015. The committee is expected to “consider and adopt a revised version of the draft Policy Framework” on Saturday, January 10.

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