In 2006, the United States passed legislation known as the UIGEA, which made it illegal for American Poker players to fund an online Poker site using money intended to be used in Poker gambling. This law is harmful and should be repealed. The U.S. government should also consider regulation of online poker. These are some of the key ideas:
The UIGEA was added as a last-minute rider to a Ports bill that was destined for passage. The UIGEA was included to the bill and signed by President Bush just 20 minutes before the Port bills Congress vote. The UIGEA was not discussed or debated by Congress and was voted upon from its original draft which contains many, many flaws.
Inequitably, the UIGEA places the responsibility for its implementation on the U.S. Bank system. It holds banks accountable and culpable for stopping internet bank transfers and checks that are gambling-related. The UIGEA doesn’t clearly define what a gambling transaction is or isn’t. The bank system is not equipped with the manpower required to implement this vague law. It has stated bluntly that it will take many years for a system that can identify offending transactions and stop benign transactions. The UIGEA also requires the banking system, in order to apply the law at its own pace (i.e. without payment) and to accept responsibility for its actions. It is absurd for the U.S. banking industry to spend its time trying to devise a plan to implement a law with so many holes, especially when there are far more pressing issues that the system must address.
The hypocrisy argument is that the U.S. government claims online Poker is illegal when funds are used for gambling purposes. However, it is legal and permitted to play state lotteries, bet for horse-racing online, and place fantasy sports online. Lotteries are deemed legal when they are completely joker388 apk left to chance. However, a game of skill (Poker), is deemed illegal and immoral by the UIGEA proponents. This is absurd. Poker is not a game of chance. However, it is a game that is mostly skill-based (akin to Chess).
The Bush Administration is currently running the largest government deficit in American history. Under George Bush’s watch, the National Debt will have risen from 5BB to 9.5BB (that’s more than a 90% increase). The regulation of online poker could be a huge win for the U.S. government. This would have a positive effect on the reduction of the deficit and the slowing down of the National debt. Many have suggested ways to tax online Poker. We could learn from our British friends who already do this.
Many people, including this author, believe the U.S. government doesn’t regulate internet-based Poker because of the strong Las Vegas lobbyists. These lobbyists believe that online Poker is harming their business and that Las Vegas plans to go online. The UIGEA legislation was designed to eliminate non-US-based online Poker. This will allow land-based casinos to gain access to this market and help eliminate any international competition.
Others who support the UIGEA claim that online Poker encourages gambling by minors, which is a serious threat to American society. It is impossible to be more truthful. The technology that exists today would allow online Poker sites to ban the patronage by underage customers.
How is it possible that the American government can tell U.S. citizens how to spend their money? This is a serious Freedom of Speech issue. The internet has no geographic boundaries. By prohibiting citizens from accessing an online Poker site located in another country, it shows that the U.S. government is not ashamed to tell its constituents what websites they can and cannot visit. If the U.S. government won’t allow online Poker sites to be accessed, then perhaps, just maybe we should remove any websites that offer alcohol, tobacco and sex as well as credit cards. Online Poker is not enough.
There are many, many reasons for the repeal of the UIGEA and to allow online poker to be played. We hope that the next government regime will be able to see the light and reverse the shortsightedness and stupidity of the current administration.