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Posts Tagged ‘internet gaming law’

18th April 2011

The War On Poker?

Posted by : admin

On what could be described as a sad day for civil liberties in the United States it was recently noted that America is in something of a figurative de facto state of war upon the internet manifestation of the game of Poker. To quote directly from what would appear to be a Daily Mail article posted on the website ThisIsMoney.co.uk:

Three of the largest online poker sites were taken over by the FBI on Friday in the probe that could bring about the death of the internet gambling industry. Websites Full Title Poker, Absolute Poker and PokerStars were all shut down and replaced with warning messages. Their owners were charged with bank fraud and money laundering.

The administration of this blog strongly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks above in order to read the full story in order to gain perspective on this interesting issue. Meanwhile, it would appear as though not all of the Poker rooms noted above are taking the situation “lying down” as was noted by B. Solomon in an interesting article on the website OnlinePoker.net:

Focusing on the situation at Full Tilt, CEO Raymond Bitar and employee Nelson Burtnick now face charges of bank fraud and money laundering but have yet to be arrested as they are based outside of the USA. Wisely, the company moved from Los Angeles to Dublin, Ireland in 2006 after the UIGEA was introduced to the US. In the meantime, Full Tilt Poker was quick to respond to some of the accusations levelled at it and a company statement read:

“Mr. Bitar and Full Tilt Poker believe online poker is legal, a position also taken by some of the best legal minds in the United States.” Raymond Bitar, 39, then added, “I am surprised and disappointed by the government’s decision to bring these charges. I look forward to Mr. Burtnick’s and my exoneration.”

The acronym UIGEA noted above is used to condense the name of the provisions of the so-called SAFE Port Act‘s section which was, at one time prior to enactment, referred to as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. There remains a great deal of controversy surrounding the UIGEA provisions of the SAFE Port Act especially as the addition of the UIGEA language occurred through what could be described as legislative chicanery. In order to better shed light upon this issue it may be best to quote directly from Wikipedia:

The Act was passed on the last day before Congress adjourned for the 2006 elections. Though a bill with the gambling wording was previously debated and passed by the House of Representatives,[6][7][8] the SAFE Port Act (H.R. 4954) as passed by the House on May 4th (by a vote of 421-2) and the United States Senate on September 14th (98-0),[9] bore no traces of the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act that was included in the SAFE Port Act signed into law by George W. Bush on October 13th, 2006.[10] The UIGEA was added in Conference Report 109-711 (submitted at 9:29pm on September 29, 2006), which was passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 409-2 and by the Senate by unanimous consent on September 30, 2006. Due to H.RES.1064, the reading of this conference report was waived.

Clearly, the passage of the amended version of the SAFE Port Act was accomplished via a rather circuitous legislative route. Meanwhile, the enforcement of this Act’s provisions have been noted by some to have had a massive impact upon both the online gaming industry as well as other industries whose business models dovetail those of many online gaming endeavors.

How this whole situation will ultimately play out remains anyone’s guess, but there is little doubt that legal matters pertaining to online gaming are likely to be at the forefront of many judicial dockets in the upcoming months.

As a former licensed poker dealer himself, this blogger is somewhat saddened to hear this news as the game of Poker, both in its real-world and online forms, is a favorite pastime of many players both in the United States of America and around the world.

For related information please see: Online Gaming Lawyers.

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