Could new internet gambling laws stop many online poker players from getting their winnings? Better not go all in on this one, dude.

Congressman Jim McDermott of Washington is introducing legislation that would legalize, tax, and regulate online gambling.

Until now, the world’s online poker rooms have been similar to the wild wild west. Not the crappy movies with Sisqo and Will Smith, but rather the Back To The Future 3 type place with people getting shot with gunpowder muskets while they drink sarsaparilla and jugs of moonshine with XXXs. Many of the top sites are hosted by foreign owners to avoid America’s gambling laws. It’s a billion dollar industry with endless hours of captivating gameplay for many members of the world’s young male demographic.

But it hasn’t been all paradise lately. Darren Rovell of CNBC heard on the street that a lot of players aren’t getting their winnings due to slowdows in the regulation process. Sounds like one guy, who wrote in about Zip Payments, is particularly screwed:

“I am an avid online gambler who had cashed checks from Zip Payments without any problem up until the most recent check I deposited, which was on July 1st. I went to Puerto Rico, spent the money, since I assumed it had cleared like always, only to return and see my account was overdrawn. And the interesting part is I had deposited another check from Zip Payments only about a week earlier and had no problem, This is causing a great distress in my life since I am a full time college student who relies on my handicapping ability to provide me spending money while I am still in school.”

Isn’t it just a shame when you head off to Puerto Rico to spend your gambling winnings and then come home to find out you’re in debt and you probably contracted Hep C? (just making some assumptions here)

Rovell also spoke to the CEO of the company that operates Bodog.net. Alwyn Morris, who is very high on the list of CEOs with incredibly nerdy names, said no one needs to fear because Bodog’s #1 commitment is getting its players paid. Just like Bear Stearns big commitment was earning money for its shareholders?

So keep gambling and winning online, but be aware that it can now take upwards of 40 business days to receive your check. Maybe you could start supplementing your income with a real full-time job? No, you’re right, those usually suck.

CNBC: Is It Getting Harder To Get Your Online Gambling Money?, July 22, 2008