Rep. Pete King proposes federal legalization of online gambling
WASHINGTON — Long Island Congressman Pete King wants to legalize online gambling.
King, a Republican, offered a bill Thursday to license online gambling at the federal level.
The measure follows similar bills King has offered previously, along with former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). The most recent proposal responds to a 2011 Justice Department ruling that rejected existing restrictions on online gambling other than on sports betting. States have asked Congress to clarify the resulting rules.
“A common federal standard will ensure strong protections for consumers” and will also help players and businesses to “freely participate,” King said.
The bill would give states or Native American tribes the right to opt-out of a federal system and keep their own internal gaming practices. It would also let states hold online lotteries, a measure that might win support from states that oppose other online gaming legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has pushed legislation to legalize online poker, but his bill would allow only large casino companies, most based in Nevada, to operate the sites. King did not coordinate with Reid in crafting his legislation.
King’s bill will probably need to be added to unrelated House legislation to pass, an aide said.