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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

The White House Responds to Online Poker Petition

We The People
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It has only been about eight months since Americans signed an online petition to license and regulate Internet poker. The Obama administration finally responded on Friday, May 18th. The White House response can be compared to a sick joke without adding the courtesy of a punch line.

The Response came from Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council - a special assistant to the President on economic policy. The Response begins by thanking us for using the online tool they created “as a way of hearing directly from you” which really is a joke. It's a means of skirting issues, allowing the Feds to slide around any topic, while they try to delude Americans into believing the government is listening and addressing our concerns.

If you signed or read the petition, and read the following Response in its entirety, do you believe it really said anything other than there is no law preventing Americans from playing online poker? The Response gives confirmation of the Justice Department's statement in December which sent states scurrying to move on their own gaming platforms.

The Response states: "The Administration will continue to examine this issue and is open to solutions that would help guard against the use of online gambling sites as tools for conducting illegal activities or preying on unsuspecting individuals to the extent that online gambling is permitted."

The title of the Online Petition is: "protect consumers, create jobs and generate revenue by licensing and regulating online poker." Would a thinking, reasoning person not be able to grasp the fact that the Online Petition is presenting a way to "help guard against the use of online gambling sites as tools..." and we want to see licensing and regulation by the government? It is as if they opened a support manual of FAQ's on how to expertly skirt issues presented to the government by responding with a half-baked, insincere response.

The Response:

Thank you for taking the time to participate in the "We the People" petition process. We launched this online tool as a way of hearing directly from you, and are pleased to see that it has been effective in soliciting your feedback. We understand your interest in the petition to support the legalization of online poker, and appreciate the opportunity to share President Obama's concerns about this issue.

The Administration understands that many Americans engage in paid online poker games for entertainment purposes. Online gambling on sporting events or contests violates federal law. The legality of other forms of online gambling is dependent upon the law of the states where the bettor or gambling business is located. It is left to each state to determine whether it wishes to permit such activity between its residents and an online poker business authorized by that state to accept such wagers, but online gambling that is not authorized by state law may also violate federal statutes.

The rapid and anonymous nature of the internet distinguishes online games from onsite games, such as those in casinos, and creates distinct challenges. For example, there are many means of technologically circumventing restrictions on online gambling that can allow individuals from countries where gambling is illegal — or even minors — to play using real currency. Online games also have greater potential for fraud because gambling websites are much cheaper and easier to establish than on-site locations, and like telemarketing scams, can appear and disappear overnight. Finally, online gambling can be used in money laundering schemes because of the volume, speed, anonymity, and international reach made possible by internet transactions. The Administration will continue to examine this issue and is open to solutions that would help guard against the use of online gambling sites as tools for conducting illegal activities or preying on unsuspecting individuals to the extent that online gambling is permitted.

Thank you once again for signing the online petition. We appreciate hearing your opinions and look forward to hearing from you again soon.

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) created the original poker petition on September 22nd, 2011, at the official White House website and it only took three days for the signatures to cross the 5,000 level required for a response. Nearly 10,000 Americans signed the Online Petition.

Almost all other early petitions had already received a response and with the eight month delayed response on Online Poker, many of us hoped for true deliberation and thought being applied to the Petition. We now know better.

Somehow the Poker Players Alliance holds an optimistic view of the Response.

"Today's petition response is promising in the respect that each of the issues raised by the White House can be and will be addressed by U.S. regulation of the industry," said John Pappas, executive director of the PPA. "The best response is for Congress to put a bill on the president's desk that protects consumers, restores personal freedom and raises much needed revenue."

The big question is will Congress EVER come together to put a bill on the President's desk?

The White House wants to know what we think about We the People and the Petition Response to "What We Have to Say About Online Poker" so please tell them by visiting here.

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