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article imageOp-Ed: Legality of poker still ambiguous in US

By Alexander Baron     Jul 3, 2013 in Entertainment
On Friday, April 15, 2011, the American Government shut down on-line poker and branded its operators criminals. Is this still the case?
The answer to the above question is yes and no. One of the main problems with passing new laws is that they often have unintended consequences. The clearest example of that is the Volstead Act of 1919. The ostensible purpose of this - Prohibition - was to save Americans from the demon drink; in practice, it created an era of lawlessness. The current drug prohibition laws - worldwide - have also caused more problems and ruined more lives than they have saved.
The prohibition of on-line poker has had slightly different effects. We have not seen shoot outs in turf wars, nor people busted at the airport for smuggling poker chips, but there is no doubt this form of prohibition has been detrimental to the American economy.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act actually came into force way back in 2006, and as its name suggests, it was not concerned solely with poker, but with any form of gambling. Curiously, this does not seem to include playing the stock market. It is now acknowledged that so-called investment banking is nothing more and nothing less than gambling. In this connection we need mention only two names: Kweku Adoboli from a UK perspective, and John Corzine, former Governor of New Jersey.
While Adoboli went to gaol, Corzine who gambled and lost on a far bigger scale, walked away smiling. This begs the question, why are Americans who play on the Internet branded criminals, while the likes of Mr Corzine are not?
So what is the position regarding on-line poker from an American perspective? Here is a recent video of Texas Congressman Joe Barton explaining his latest attempt to remedy this sad situation. He is talking here to the Poker Players Alliance, which is the best source for the latest US legal updates. Note what he says about people playing on unregulated sites.
Another place US poker players (and non-US) players should visit is CardsChat. You can find this at its Net address or CardsChat.Com, the latter of which has a busy forum. The site also has a very helpful page about US sites which explains how American players can play their favourite game without the Feds knocking on their doors.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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