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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

National Poker Week Plays Out

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From the beginning of the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act), passed by Congress in 2006, the game has steadily been played like the original game between Jimmy the Greek and Johnny Moss; new cards are dealt and another hand is played out.  The game is in Washington D.C. this week and being played hand for hand during National Poker Week.

Close to 100 meetings are being held with members of Congress and their aides.  The Poker Players Alliance will present a poker petition to President Barack Obama tomorrow, Wednesday the 22nd, which has over 360,000 signatures—you still have time to add yours.  Annie Duke, Howard Lederer, Andy Bloch, Greg Raymer and many more will be active and present during National Poker Week.

Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the USO will be the recipients of a charity poker tournament hosted Tuesday, the 21st, by the poker group.
Monday, the 20th, found the players hosting a congressional staff briefing where staffers from about 20 congressional offices sat in and panelists were asked questions.  A question of safety for children was one concern, to which panelist Parry Aftab, pointed to parental control technology which is available on operating systems of computers.  Parry Aftab is the executive director and founder of which is a cyber safety group based in New York. Panelists Paul Mathews, former executive with International Game Technology and an independent consultant stated that online gambling – by allowing players to set limits on how much they wanted to wager – could help decrease pathological gambling.

In a telephone interview an opponent of online gambling and president of the Christian Coalition of America, Roberta Combs stated, "We still don't support it.”  “When you start gambling on the Internet, it's just too accessible. You can do it from home, and it's so much easier. We just feel like that's an issue that has a tendency to break up the family."
Coombs continued with, "I don't think it's going to come up" in Congress, she said. "If we think it will, then we definitely will work it hard."

Legislation by Rep. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, would regulate rather than ban Internet gambling and Frank’s legislation is supported by the poker group.  The Poker Players Alliance is working on getting the $30 million that was recently frozen in the accounts of payment processors being disbursed to cash-out requests by thousands of online poker players returned to the players.

All of the reasons to exempt online poker from the UIGEA have been presented many times over and to emphasize the point, they will be presented again.
•    Online poker definitely needs to be licensed and regulated to keep the game safe for the millions of Americans that play online; including protecting children from gambling and providing a means to protect the problem gambler.
•    The funds that could be kept in the United States due to taxing and providing online poker services is in the millions and could help turn our failing economy into a controllable nose bleed staunching the hemorrhage. Over $16 billion is the estimated amount spent on online gambling and approximately half of that is from US players which funnels through servers held in foreign countries.
•    The UIGEA, as it stands, has never clearly defined unlawful Internet gambling and a flimsy, unworkable solution was aimed at the banking system expecting the banks to prohibit fund transfers using credit cards, checks or electronic fund transfers.
•    Each state appears to have taken its own stance on the UIGEA and indicates differing interpretations with no clear understanding or definition of the law from the federal government.
•    Most importantly, poker is a game of skill.  You, the player, have options on every street to decide the outcome of how much, if any, you are willing to wager on a dealt hand.  You are not committing your bet and waiting for the outcome, you are controlling the outcome by using your skill and choices throughout the play of the hand.

For three years the game has been played hand for hand.  From Antigua and Barbuda, to the WTO, to the Kentucky domain seizure attempts, to Minnesota attempting to block online gaming sites, to the seizure of $30 million of player’s funds, and more, the game continues.  The joker is in play.*

Sign the petition, contact your state representatives, join the PPA, don’t give up your right to freedom—not just in the matter of playing regulated, licensed online poker—and never stop adding your voice to the good fight.

*Joker as defined by

1.    a person who jokes.
2.    one of two extra playing cards in a pack, usually imprinted with the figure of a jester, used in some games as the highest card or as a wild card.
3.    U.S. Politics. a clause or expression inserted in a legislative bill with the unavowed object of defeating the ostensible purpose of the bill if passed.
4.    a seemingly minor, unsuspected clause or wording that is put into an agreement, legal document, etc., to change its effect.
5.    an unexpected or final fact, factor, or condition that changes or reverses a situation or result completely: He gave her a beautiful diamond engagement ring, but the joker was that it was stolen!
6.    any method, trick, or expedient for getting the better of another: They pulled a joker on us to get better seats.
7.    Informal. a man; fellow; chap: That joker is earning twice as much as I am.
8.    a person who thinks he or she is very funny; prankster: Who's the joker who frosted the cake with shaving cream?
9.    Informal. a wise guy; wiseacre; smart aleck: Tell that joker to stop using my parking space.

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