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White House Responds to Calls for Legalized Online Poker[ return to main articles page ]

By: Dan Cypra    [See all articles by Dan Cypra]
Published on May 20th, 2012
We admit we were surprised that the White House responded to pleas from the online poker community for legalization and regulation of our industry in the United States. In the past, poker players had vocally taken to social media like Facebook and Twitter to fire off questions and suggestions about the issue. In recent days, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese responded to an online poker petition as part of the White House's "We the People" campaign.

After claiming the White House "understands that many Americans engage in paid online poker games for entertainment purposes," Deese pointed out that online wagering on sporting events violates Federal law, a notion upheld by a U.S. Department of Justice opinion letter on the Wire Act released two days before Christmas last year.

Given that online wagering on sports is not permitted, Deese contended, "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."

In April 2011, the DOJ came down hard on the three largest U.S.-facing rake-based online poker rooms: PokerStars, Absolute Poker, and Full Tilt. All three sites exited the U.S. market and 11 individuals associated with them were indicted. Only PokerStars has managed to pay back players and is rumored to be in the process of purchasing the assets of Full Tilt. The future of Absolute Poker and UB is up in the air.

Deese then digressed into a discussion of the pitfalls of playing online poker for real money. After pointing out that the game is both "rapid" and "anonymous," he wrote, "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."

Deese shared even more drawbacks to online gaming: "Online games also have greater potential for fraud because gambling websites are much cheaper and easier to establish than onsite 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."

Deese concluded on a positive note, saying that the administration is "open to solutions" to the aforementioned problems.

The petition received nearly 10,000 signatures and the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) promoted it to its 1.2 million members. The virtual document was created in September and emphasized that sites that accept online wagers on horse racing "have proven that online betting sites can be successfully regulated."

Speaking of the PPA, Vice President of Player Relations Rich TheEngineer Muny (pictured), who has been instrumental in mobilizing players in other grassroots efforts, told PocketFives, "The response reiterated the DOJ's decision on the Wire Act, which is a real positive. It also noted that intrastate online poker can go forward."

What about Deese's heavy emphasis on the difficulties of licensing and regulating internet poker? Does that put a damper on the prospects of legalized gaming? Muny responded, "Those are legitimate concerns and some of the key talking points of the Joe Barton online poker bill [HR 2366]. It's good that the points he put in there are exactly the ones that Barton's bill addresses. To be complete, his letter would have to mention the types of issues that would come up before Congress."

Muny admitted that he didn't necessarily expect a direct response from the White House on the issue: "Our goal wasn't to get President Barack Obama to speak to us. It was an opportunity for us to communicate with the White House."

View the White House's response to the online poker petition.

Comments

  1. So basically, we are at the same point we were before you wrote and I read this. In other words, NOTHING NEW!
  2. cant wait for poker to get regulated and the PPA claims they were the ones who did it
     2
  3.  
    Originally Posted by Kratos View Post

    So basically, we are at the same point we were before you wrote and I read this. In other words, NOTHING NEW!

    That's not necessarily true. My takeaway from this was much the same as Rich Muny's - the White House acknowledges online poker is likely a state issue, but there are a lot of hurdles to overcome. This is one of the White House's first public statements about online poker in general, which is definitely a positive development and a testament to the dedication of the poker community.
     
    Thread Starter
  4.  
    Originally Posted by Kratos View Post

    So basically, we are at the same point we were before you wrote and I read this. In other words, NOTHING NEW!

    No, they said they are open to solutions to the issues they mentioned. So it seems more positive to me, like they are prepared to gradually come round if their concerns can be appeased.
  5. This is huge news compared with what we had previously
  6.  

    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.

    Isn't there a Federal Law that says banks can't make transactions with online gaming companies? (possibly part of the UIGEA) I thought that was what the whole problem was in the first place.
     
    5
  7.  

    No person engaged in the business of betting or wagering may knowingly accept, in connection with the participation of another person in unlawful Internet gambling—
    (1) credit, or the proceeds of credit, extended to or on behalf of such other person (including credit extended through the use of a credit card);
    (2) an electronic fund transfer, or funds transmitted by or through a money transmitting business, or the proceeds of an electronic fund transfer or money transmitting service, from or on behalf of such other person;
    (3) any check, draft, or similar instrument which is drawn by or on behalf of such other person and is drawn on or payable at or through any financial institution; or
    (4) the proceeds of any other form of financial transaction, as the Secretary and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System may jointly prescribe by regulation, which involves a financial institution as a payor or financial intermediary on behalf of or for the benefit of such other person.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/31/5363

    and the definition of "unlawful internet gambling" is:

     

    10) Unlawful internet gambling.— (A) In general.— The term “unlawful Internet gambling” means to place, receive, or otherwise knowingly transmit a bet or wager by any means which involves the use, at least in part, of the Internet where such bet or wager is unlawful under any applicable Federal or State law in the State or Tribal lands in which the bet or wager is initiated, received, or otherwise made.
    (B) Intrastate transactions.— The term “unlawful Internet gambling” does not include placing, receiving, or otherwise transmitting a bet or wager where— (i) the bet or wager is initiated and received or otherwise made exclusively within a single State;
    (ii) the bet or wager and the method by which the bet or wager is initiated and received or otherwise made is expressly authorized by and placed in accordance with the laws of such State, and the State law or regulations include— (I) age and location verification requirements reasonably designed to block access to minors and persons located out of such State; and
    (II) appropriate data security standards to prevent unauthorized access by any person whose age and current location has not been verified in accordance with such State’s law or regulations; and

    (iii) the bet or wager does not violate any provision of— (I) the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 (15 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.);
    (II) chapter 178 of title 28 (commonly known as the “Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act”);
    (III) the Gambling Devices Transportation Act (15 U.S.C. 1171 et seq.); or
    (IV) the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (25 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.).

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/31/5362

    This is why it's illegal:

    (ii) the bet or wager and the method by which the bet or wager is initiated and received or otherwise made is expressly authorized by and placed in accordance with the laws of such State, and the State law or regulations include— (I) age and location verification requirements reasonably designed to block access to minors and persons located out of such State; and
    (II) appropriate data security standards to prevent unauthorized access by any person whose age and current location has not been verified in accordance with such State’s law or regulations; and

    There are no state laws that "expressly authorize online wagers, or have any type of age and location verification systems (which I think they mean every time you log on) so there is no gambling online that banks can accept money from.
    Edited By: P0KERDUUDE May 21st, 2012 at 10:18 AM
     
    5
  8. maybe another 10,000 signatures will do the job :)
  9. You sit and watch players around the world playing in the SCOOP and yet the Americans are being deprived from this sport. Absolutely absurd if you ask me!! It's being blown up as such a big deal, yet a young kid can jump on the internet and look at porn freely. mhmmmm
  10.  
    Originally Posted by P0KERDUUDE View Post

    Isn't there a Federal Law that says banks can't make transactions with online gaming companies? (possibly part of the UIGEA) I thought that was what the whole problem was in the first place.

    The UIGEA says that banks can't transfer funds to "unlawful" online gambling sites, but never clarifies what the word "unlawful" means. Instead, the UIGEA defers to a web of state and Federal laws and asks banks to figure out what transactions to allow and disallow. If a state legalized online poker, then banks could transfer funds to licensed sites.

    The various legal action so far against our industry has been due to violations of state law. Black Friday was due to violations of New York law. The DoylesRoom indictments were due to violations of Maryland law.
     
    Thread Starter
  11. poker again in the US would be the nuts but these updates are deppresing, are industry is treated like a joke, people are excited about a measly response like thats a huge accomplishment, select few see the upside(peoples livelyhoods). over a year and little progress, prolly 100 p5'S articles strictly teasing degens and people seperated from their dough all pretty salty moving seems real smart if u r good dsent look to be back soon
     
  12. Wow, so many "hurdles" to get over in order to pass a fucking bill accepting online poker. What type of hurdles are they referring to? A 10-foot rock wall politicians have to climb? Or what about 40 pushups to pass a bill?No, the hurdles they're referring to are the one's being implanted by congress and the senate - slow decision making. Our government is a fucking joke.
  13. good night the parties over. I am thankful of 5 casinos 20 mins away
  14. This whole thing gets me on Uber Tilt. This country is F'd. Nothing but greedy scumbags who just care about themselves. Maybe this will get me to move to Costa Rica. BULLLLSH***t BULLLLLL SH***ttt. Living in this country is bad beat.
  15. Geez, talk about a micro step..This is gonna take awhile boys...The 'man' isnt even done handling the important issue of x baseball players lying in 2002 about performance enhancing drugs they used in 1994..Our matter is new...Hell, theres this teenage girl who has invented a cancer cure, for real!!, some sort of nano-attachment thats activated outside of the body with laser..Shes not expecting the government to approve it for at least 20 years!!!
    Yes, Its FDA, and all the testing and stuff..Still tho
    I'll finish with something George Carlin said shortly before he died.."Shits gonna get fucked up around here jack, Im glad Im closer to death than birth!!"
  16. Come on washington stop being a bunch of C unts and give us some g.d. poker already
     
  17. Wow, there's a comment from the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council and it says they won't do anything about it because of state's rights.

    This is like Rick Santorum endorsing Mitt Romney in the eleventh paragraph of a overnight Friday e-mail. They don't care about this issue because doing something would come with too much blowback. Either this gets addressed in the legislature (not likely) or we're screwed for the foreseeable future. Good job U.S. government, not only do we lose tax revenue from the pros who had to move overseas but also lost out on the additional revenue we would gain from corporate regulation of this. Not to mention literally taking away the freedom of all those who WANT TO PLAY. But if you want to bet on sports or horses, we'll just overlook that. Just another absurdity on top of the pile of absurdities that is the presentse-day United States.

    I'd move to Canada if I could.
  18. I believe Joe Barton's bill, HR2366, was introduced late last summer or early fall. I also believe it covered many of the issues brought up by Brian Deese. So, almost 9 months later this is the response we all receive???? That's it? 13 months after BF this is where it stands?

    Hard to believe and easy to understand why so many people are pessimistic.
  19. Oh fucm ..just give me my money those asshole thieves are as bad as the ponzi scheme'rs
  20. Just because something CAN be used to illicit purposes doesn't mean it should be illegal. Anyone could take a car and slam into a crowd of people or cause property destruction, but we don't make cars illegal.A hammer can be used to build or destroy.
 
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