The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) has officially adopted and published the group’s Policy Framework for the Regulation of Internet Gambling.
The framework – over a year in the making – was finalized during the group’s winter meeting, held earlier this month in Las Vegas.
Delaware State Rep. Helen Keeley, President of NCLGS, characterized the framework as “a unique way to address the challenges and opportunities that come with regulating Internet gambling and offers a real-world approach to ensuring that citizens are protected.”
The framework addresses ten core topics:
The framework is not model legislation, although it certainly provides the bones of a bill and offers specific direction for legislators interested in crafting a bill.
Much of the ground covered by the NCLGS Framework will seem familiar to advocates of regulated online gambling.
But the adoption of the Framework has implications that span well beyond the scope of the document itself.
NCLGS is a bi-partisan organization without a specific political stance on iGaming.
Their mere involvement in the issue brings a new level of credibility to the topic in state legislatures.
And the group’s decision to devote substantial time and resources to the development of the Framework signals to lawmakers that regulated online gambling is a topic that should be taken seriously.
The credibility of NCLGS provides one layer of political cover to lawmakers interested in sponsoring online gambling legislation.
But the framework itself provides a crucial second layer of political cover, providing lawmakers with a template that can be deployed as a defense against criticism and a ready answer to questions concerning the fundamental feasibility of regulating online gambling in the first place.
Greater consistency across attempts to regulate online gambling at the state level could arguably smooth the path for advocates and would certainly benefit the industry in the long run by promoting regulatory harmony and facilitating inter-state cooperation.
It’s little surprise that the NCLGS Framework contains a section dedicated to multi-jurisdictional agreements (the agreements necessary for states to share player pools or otherwise cooperate on iGaming).
After all, NCLGS President Rep. Keeley hails from Delaware and has been a critical player in that state’s attempt to forge an agreement that would see Delaware and Nevada share online poker player pools.
That means the NCLGS doesn’t just focus on the concept of MJAs, but also speaks specifically to the nuts and bolts of crafting legislation that engenders effective MJAs – ones that don’t require Congressional consent.
Given how essential inter-state player sharing is to the future of online poker in the United States, this aspect of the NCLGS Framework may prove to be the most critical of all.