Online Poker Is Not Illegal in the United States

May 29, 2010

While a great deal of ignorance and misinformation makes its way around the Internet, one statement needs to be made: online poker is NOT going to be illegal in the US on June 1st.

Activist Robin Morgan once said, “Knowledge is power. Information is power. The secreting or hoarding of knowledge or information may be an act of tyranny camouflaged as humility.” Much to the glee of the opponents of Internet gambling, the poker community has been ablaze with talk of the shutting down of online poker; the idea that the UIGEA is going to do this is part of the tyranny of ignorance.

As author Mark Twain said about rumors of his demise, “The report of my death was an exaggeration”, so go the rumors of poker’s death. The UIGEA does not outlaw poker; the law prohibits banks from making transactions with companies that fund illegal gambling.

This is already happening in many cases. As John Pappas, Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance points out, “Many financial institutions have already stopped funding online gambling accounts, and the UIGEA doesn’t expressly forbid banks to deal with online poker companies. The law just forces them to ensure that they do not fund illegal gambling activities.”

Many, including Pappas, state that the UIGEA won’t stop online poker. He says, “There is what amounts to a safe harbor already embedded in the law, so that any bank that does want to transact with an online poker business simply needs a reasoned legal opinion that it their client is not involved in restricted transactions.”

If knowledge is truly power, poker players need to be powerful when it comes to this subject. The opponents of poker will continue to fight, but poker isn’t illegal in the US; and the UIGEA is unlikely to be anything more than an annoyance until legislation to license and regulate online poker has been passed.

Online Poker Is Not Illegal in the United States

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