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CoffeeGambling.com » 2012 » January
  • Archive for January, 2012

    Will congress legalize online poker in time?

    Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

    It looks like it’s now not a question of whether or not we’ll have legal online poker in the US but how we’ll get legal online poker.  The Department of Justice’s reversal of opinion on the 1961 Wire Act which stated that the act was only meant to apply to sports games has opened the door wide for new legislation and new opportunities. States have been quick to jump on the bandwagon. Nevada is already issuing online poker licenses, since they’d already passed a bill making online poker legal in the state as long as it wasn’t against federal law. A ruling that sounded backward at the time but turned out to be just the right view of things. New York has also announced that it’s looking into online poker and other states will undoubtedly be following the New York attitude.

    Which is why the Poker Players Alliance has warned Congress that if it doesn’t act to bring in online poker on a federal level — NOW. Really, right now, it will lose the opportunity.  Now from the perspective of a poker player, national online poker would be better because it would make online poker available to more people and focus less on smaller state casinos.  But to the states, legislation by individual states is preferable because it means that each state can collect revenue from online poker rooms operating in their boundaries.

    From congresses point of view, hmm, I don’t know what their point of view is. Perhaps it’s that if they leave it up to the individual states, they don’t have to go on the record for having an opinion. But really, the federal budget could use the money that online poker would bring it.  Come on congress, show ‘em or fold ‘em.

    New Year and new gambling changes

    Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

    Welcome back from the holidays! Have you caught up with the gambling news yet? There’s one story out there making the rounds of the media from MSNBC to Fox News. It’s the Department of Justice’s change to their view on online gambling. Now this one is a bit complex so I’m going to try to put it in a gambler’s perspective rather that a legal perspective. Besides, I’m a better gambler than I am a lawyer (not actually a lawyer at all).  This is going to require a history lesson.

    For the last year, online gambling news has all been about the UIGEA or Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. But here’s the trick. The UIGEA only calls for the enforcement of existing laws against internet gambling. Everyone admits that the UIGEA is poorly written and doesn’t clearly define what illegal internet gambling looks like. So, what made everyone consider online gambling illegal? Well, that was the Wire Act of 1961.

    Now, here’s where we run into a history problem. Back in 1961 there was no online gambling and the internet as we know it today didn’t exist. So how did the wise folks in 1961 write a law to make something they didn’t know existed illegal?  Well, they didn’t. The Wire Act was about sports betting and placing bets by wiring money. The Wire Act was just interpreted to apply to online gambling. But when the UIGEA got around to telling the DOJ that essentially they had to enforce the Wire Act by applying it to online gambling, the DOJ decided to take another look at the act. Now, I’m not a lawyer, but I assume the Department of Justice probably has a few on hand. And what those lawyers decided was that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting. So, you can’t place online sports bets. Poker and online casino games are up for grabs.

    What does this mean for gamblers? Well, right now it means that there is no specific federal law against online gambling. Now, that doesn’t automatically make it legal, but it does open the door to the states to pass their own online gambling laws without violating federal law. Nevada already has online poker plans in motion. California has stated that it is looking at putting its lottery online. And we’re barely out of the holiday season. This is going to be an interesting year.