Online Poker Dark Age Begins
The United States government finally took a stance on online gambling and online poker. Despite years of failed legislation, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) managed to attach a stripped down version of their online gambling prohibition bill ("The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006") to an irrelevant port security bill in the middle of the night before the recess last weekend.
The language of the bill that carved out exemptions for lotteries, horse betting, and fantasy sports was conveniently kept intact. Partially removed were the amendments to the Wire Act, which had the potential to make online gambling illegal.
Supporters of the bill included the National Football League, numerous anti-gambling groups, and other conservative groups.
The bill will soon make it illegal to send money to online gaming companies. It will also make it illegal for any foreign online company to accept wagers from US players, so that any employee of such a company could potentially be prosecuted if they ever enter the US. None of the relevant language in the port security bill spoke to the illegality of individuals playing poker online.
After the passing of the act, Partygaming announced that they will no longer accept players from the United States. 888, the operator of PacificPoker, followed shortly after. Consequently, the stock values of these sites has dropped dramatically. In the case of Partygaming, the stock lost almost 60% of its value. Other sites, like FullTilt and TruePoker, are standing fast and waiting for the dust to clear before shutting off the largest base of poker players in the world.
Also after the passing of the act, Nolan Dalla, Media Director to the World Series of Poker and also for Director of Communications for Pokerstars.com, resigned his post on Pokerstars for legal reasons. Nolan wrote an excellent article on the impact of this new law that we recommend you read.
So despite the urging of every intelligent source, online poker is about to hit a major dark age. The future of online poker and, by extension, all of poker is in jeopardy.
It is estimated by the PPA that regulation of online poker would create $3.3 billion in federal tax revenue, and an additional $1 billion in state taxes. Nearly 75% of Americans oppose legislation that bans online poker.
We urge players to visit the Poker Players Alliance for more information on what you can do to stop the collapse of America's favorite skill game.
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