According to a Kenny Roger’s song from years ago, “you got to know when to ‘fold-em’ and know when to ‘hold-em’.” The U.S. Department of Justice, as reported in multiple news sources last week, has chosen to ‘fold-em’ for 3 of the most popular on-line poker sites.
Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker were seized, along with 11 indicted individuals. A bill was passed in 2006 called the Safe Port Act to which a last minute measure was added. The attachment, known as the “Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006”, prohibited gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the internet and that it is unlawful under federal and state law. Online poker sites have been up and running for years, and yet all of a sudden the federal government decides to step in and enforce a law that was adopted in 2006.
WHY NOW? To answer that, let’s step forward to 2011. During the same period of reporting the closure of the three poker sites, another report surfaced. According to news sources, D.C. will be stepping into the online poker game in an attempt to find some much needed cash for their strapped budget. As most people do not know, this deal for D.C. was part of the 2011 budget in Congress. A 30-day period for Congress to object has expired. If one thinks they closed the 3 poker sites because of off-shore influence, you need to know that the D.C. project is tied in with a company from Greece.
Government intervention has been witnessed before in the sports-betting industry. As I posted two years ago:
$380 Billion Dollar Industry Goes Untaxed  “In 2008, $2.8 billion dollars was wagered in Nevada on sports-betting. The gross revenue for Nevada was $136.4 million. Reportedly, this represents less than 1 percent of sports betting nationwide. According to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, it is estimated that illegal wagers are as much as $380 billion annually.
Taxes are placed on cigarettes, alcohol, and gasoline at an increasing rate and yet a $380 billion dollar industry falls under the radar. Well, not under all radars.
The major sports leagues and NCAA are currently at battle with Delaware over the legality of Delaware’s move to introduce sports betting into the state. New Jersey picked up this revenue possibility on its radar and is currently filing a suit to overturn a Federal Sports Gaming Ban which only allows 4 states the ability to conduct sports betting.
In 1992 the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was enacted by Congress for the Federal regulation of sports betting. The hearings for this action began in 1991 with the Senate Judiciary Committee which was chaired by then Senator Joe Biden (D-De). The committee insured that a “grandfather clause” was passed which exempted Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware.
The United States Department of Justice opposed the legislation at the time with strong emphasis Congress had historically left decisions on how to raise revenue to the states and that this would be an infringement on states’ rights.
While it is true that some states do not have or will not pass legislation to allow any form of gambling there are others who are looking for additional revenue in these economic times. Perhaps, it is time for PASPA to be revisited and a 2009 decision be made on its constitutionality.”
What remains to be seen is where the government will go with the internet poker regulations and will it only include certain states as it did with sports-betting.
My money is on limited access and some states will be the ones allowed to go “all-in”.


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