Serious Legal Issues in Online Poker

Since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act passed in 2006, it’s been mostly quiet on the legal front in regards to online poker. Sure the poker news sites are constantly rolling out stories about proposed bill A in the works or how proposed bill B is buried in Congress just so they have something to […]

Since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act passed in 2006, it’s been mostly quiet on the legal front in regards to online poker. Sure the poker news sites are constantly rolling out stories about proposed bill A in the works or how proposed bill B is buried in Congress just so they have something to publish, but few major legal advances have been made since the UIGEA.

But all of the sudden, we are hearing some real news stories regarding the legality of internet poker in the US. Perhaps the biggest story involves the state of Washington and their decision to uphold a ban on internet gambling. With this decision, Washington has already scared PokerStars out of the market as Stars announced they will not offer their services to Washington residents. Other poker sites that offer their services to American players are expected to follow suit too.

Besides the Washington issue, another big dilemma facing the United States poker situation is how the government wants banks to record every financial transaction. In the past, only transactions over $10,000 were recorded; under this new proposal, every single transaction would be recorded. The reason why is so the US can supposedly prevent money laundering and terrorism, but online poker transactions would also be suspect. So it looks like online poker as we know it is doomed, right?

Actually, it isn’t time to panic yet because banks are fiercely battling the transaction recording bill. And even though the US government is supposedly setting aside $30 million for this effort, banks contend that they have no chance of recording every transaction. So it’s hard to see this bill realistically passing. And as for the Washington issue, sorry if you live in the great evergreen state, but this is only one state. The other 49 seem to be doing fine in terms of poker so it looks like most of us are safe for now.

 

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