Cookies on the PokerWorks Website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the PokerWorks website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time.

Continue using cookies

Poker News | Gambling and the Law

PPA Concerned About Sessions Bill to Clarify UIGEA

Share this
Sometimes, a person can have the best of intentions… That seems to be the case with the Republican Representative Pete Sessions from Texas. On July 30th, 2008, he introduced a bill to the House of Representatives to clarify the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). However, the language used indicated that online poker should be exempt from prosecution because the UIGEA deemed it illegal, and the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has taken issue with that point.

Sessions’ bill, H.R. 6663, also known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2008, was co-sponsored upon its introduction by Reps. Marion Berry, Jesse Jackson, Jr., and Bill Delahunt – Democrats from Arkansas, Illinois, and Massachusetts, respectively. The general intent of the bill is “to provide additional clarification with regard to the implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, and for other purposes.”

The bill notes that the UIGEA was vague and outdated regarding internet gambling activities. It verifies that sports betting is illegal and is rightfully targeted by the UIGEA, though sites that voluntarily left the U.S. market after the passage of the UIGEA should be left as an example of good faith effort rather than prosecuted. The problem with the bill lies in the specific point that it makes about internet poker and casino-style gambling, indicating that the UIGEA rendered poker illegal and H.R. 6663 should make an exception for the game.

Two days after Rep. Sessions introduced his bill, the PPA responded with a strong statement. Not only was the organization confused by the intent of the bill, but the PPA noted unequivocally that it did not support it. The statement by PPA Chairman Alfonse D’Amato began: “Congressman Pete Sessions has been and continues to be a good friend to poker players who want the freedom to play America’s greatest card game. His dedication to the conservative principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility are unparalleled in the U.S. Congress.”

D’Amato continued: “We are, however puzzled by the introduction of H.R. 6663 and by the purpose of this legislation. While we agree with several findings in the bill that correctly identify the illegality of sports wagering, the PPA remains concerned with the implication H.R. 6663 asserts in that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) has made Internet poker an unlawful activity that needs special protection from prosecution.”

He goes further to say that Sessions’ bill does nothing to clarify the UIGEA and only adds to the confusion surrounding the current law. “The PPA cannot support this bill in its current form. We will however, continue to advance other legislative priorities that Rep. Sessions supports, such as H.R. 2610, which recognizes poker as a game of skill and preserves the right of adults to enjoy poker on the Internet.”

Sessions has had no further comments on the bill since the PPA released its statement, but it is known that Sessions’ Political Action Committee has been and is supported by noted poker players like Doyle Brunson, Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Andy Bloch, Barry Shulman, Linda Johnson, and even the PPA’s Executive Director John Pappas.

The current status of the legislation is that is has been referred to the Committee on Financial Services for consideration, as well as the Committee on the Judiciary.

News Flash

The IRS Scores Big at 2015 WSOP ME Final Table

The IRS managed to snag 34.13 percent from the payouts of the 2015 November Nine, totaling $8,467,091.

Read more

Quick Room Review

Bonus Room review

Subscribe to the Nightly Turbo

Be the first to know all the latest poker news, tournament results, gossip and learn all about the best online poker deals straight from your inbox.

RSS Feed