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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Arrested for Playing Online Poker!

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Can you be arrested for playing poker online? If you listen to most conversations about online poker, you'll hear people firmly state that it's illegal. Not true! What is illegal is for a bank or credit card company to allow you to use your money to fund an online poker account.

There are eight states in the U.S. that it is illegal to play online poker in. It is possible, in one of those states, that the boys in blue could come barging through your door and arrest you for sitting in on your favorite online game - wouldn't it be Murphy's Law for it to happen when you just got A-A cracked, on the bubble, in a $1M tournament, by 9-2 off suit? To this writer's knowledge no one has been arrested in their home for playing online.

Most of us were happy, mouse clicking, online poker players until the October 13th, 06 (Black Friday) signing of the UIGEA by President Bush. There are a lot of things going on in US legislation to fight for our rights to go back to that state:

• The PPA (Poker Players Alliance ). To date, there are 786,746 members in the PPA and we are telling the US government that we are not happy with their decision. Join now and make your voice heard. Visit the site and you will find easy routes to contacting your state representatives and letting them know that you are not happy and you want change - NOW!
Barney Frank has introduced a bill to repeal the UIGEA
• Steve Israel and Pete King, Congressmen for Long Island, have published an editorial in the New York Post supporting Barney Frank's bill. More information here .
• Shelley Berkley, House of Representatives Nevada, is involved also. She cosponsored H.R. 2046, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act with Congressman Barney Frank. "This bill would set up a regulatory framework for legal Internet gaming while ensuring that children and compulsive gamblers are denied access and state gambling laws are observed."

Not only is the US under fire from irate poker players (because we don't feel that playing poker online, in the privacy of our own homes, is a crime and we also don't believe that we should fall under the blanket of a port security act since the only thing we are trying to conquer and overtake is someone else's bankroll in a poker game, not the shores or borders of the US), but the US is under fire from the WTO countries.

Earlier this year, Antigua and Barbuda asked the World Trade Organization to authorize $3.4 Billion USD in commercial sanctions against the US for failing to comply with WTO treaties and rulings. Apparently the US, in a WTO submission, says $500,000 is much more realistic.

The war continues as Antigua goes all-in stating they could ignore US patents and other intellectual property rights if their request, or more proper compensation, isn't offered by the US. Some US congressmen see Barney Frank's bill as the perfect solution as it would regulate and possibly tax the gaming industry bringing in a large source of revenue. Gee! Why didn't the US think of that one years ago?

As the legal wars and arguments continue, the handful of online poker sites that have kept their doors open to US players, have simply found new ways for US players to deposit and cash out - and the games go on 24/7. Thousands of US players still hit the online green felt every day. The US could be cashing in on that as a major source of revenue.

Do politics and poker mix? They should. In order to be an elected official, you should be forced to play poker for six months prior to putting your name on a ballot. A public ‘leader board' should be kept of the candidates. And we, the voting population, would be able to find out a lot about the character of a candidate - especially if we got to watch them play poker on TV and view their hole cards as they played.

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