Committee Hears Arguments for US Online Poker Regulations

October 27, 2011

Online gambling had its day in Congress today when the House heard Al D’Amato, former US Senator and Chairman of the Poker Players Alliance, as he laid out problems with current Internet gambling laws along with ways in which they should be amended.

D’Amato argued that currently players are not able to “play on a site that is located in the US that employs US citizens, plays US taxes, or is regulated by any level of the government in the US.”

Additionally, he mentioned that because the US Justice Department under the Obama administration has been cracking down on online poker sites that accepted US players, “many thousands of US poker players have not been able to recover money that they deposited into Full Tilt Poker and Ultimate Bet/Absolute Poker accounts, or money they won playing on these sites.”

He also urged Congress to clarify legislature regarding online poker and write more effective laws against what exactly is illegal. He said, “Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 simply told banks to block payments for ‘unlawful Internet gambling’ without defining that term.”

The National Indian Gaming Association’s Ernest Stevens also spoke, calling online gaming “the Native American success story,” mentioning that the Supreme Court has upheld that Indian gaming is “crucial for tribal self-determination and self-governance” since 1987.

Stevens’ argument was that Congress should respect the Native American tribes’ “sovereign governments with a right to operate, regulate, tax, and license Internet gambling.” He also said that Indian tribes must be able to provide their services “to customers in any locale where Internet gaming is not criminally prohibited.”

Other testifiers compared Internet poker to illegal drug use. All witnesses though pointed out the “threat of offshore gambling” and identified that regulatory laws were necessary to protect US consumers.


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