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Posts Tagged ‘online poker’

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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15th December 2010

Those who read this blog may have taken note of previous postings which discussed recent events occurring in the realm of American online gaming regulation. Recently, this administrator read a posting on casinogamblingweb.com by Terry Goodwin. To quote directly from the posting:

[Senator Harry] Reid shocked many in the gaming industry late last week when he revealed that he was supporting a bill that would regulate online poker in the US. Each state would be able to opt out of the legislation, but clearly the goal for Reid was to help Nevada gaming companies with existing casinos.

Senator Reid’s support could prove to be essential to passage of online gaming regulation legislation. However, not all seem enthusiastic about Mr. Ried’s proposed legislation:

As the details of the bill have emerged, online players have become more weary of Reid’s motives. One of the more interesting stipulations surrounds the possibility that all online poker operators seeking a license would have to halt their services to US customers for a period of fifteen consecutive months once the legislation is finalized and passed.

The issue of gaming in general can be controversial in the United States and around the globe, but the issues surrounding online gaming bring to light all sorts of legal and policy issues as Larry Rutherford noted in his article also on casinogamblingweb.com:

University of Illinois Business Professor and longtime opponent of online gambling regulations in the US John Kindt has again made statements about the issue of late…

Apparently this professor advocates strongly against online gaming. Many opponents to gaming legislation cite the problems which can arise as a result of the spread of gaming. That said, Rutherford’s posting pointed out that online gaming is becoming increasingly prevalent:

Senator Harry Reid and Representative Barney Frank are both pursuing online gambling legislation that would regulate the industry. The lawmakers take the opposite position of Kindt, understanding that Internet gambling is already a big part of society in the US….

One facet of the online gaming debate that many feel is often overlooked in the overall discussion of the various aspects of the issue is the economic argument in favor of online gaming. As Rutherford’s piece went on to note further:

Online gambling would only help the economy recover with the thousands of jobs regulations would create. Millions of dollars in tax revenue that is currently going out of the US would also stay within the borders. Instead of paying companies in other countries, the millions of online gamblers would be pumping money into US-based companies that pay taxes and spend money in the country.

In addition to the revenue and jobs, online gambling regulations would also place spending limits on Internet gamblers, something that currently does not exist in full regulation. Problem gambling is addressed in Representative Frank’s online gambling bill, and almost certainly would be included in any legislation proposal by Senator Reid passed as an amendment to the tax cuts bill.

Although no one can foresee what the overall impact of this legislation could be. There are many who feel that properly regulated online gaming in the United States would be a significant benefit to the American economy as jobs would be created to deal with what appears to be substantial demand for services both directly and indirectly related to gaming.

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