Will National Poker Week Make a Difference?

Date: July 25, 2009

National Poker Week is winding down and the big question remains as to how much good it will do.  The PPA has been fighting vigorously to keep poker in the forefront of the political arena and this is another vehicle that they are using to try and sway the House vote towards passing a bill that will finally allow US players to play online poker without the fear of breaking the law.

The week started off by introducing Howard Stern as its newest member.  What better way to get national attention that by getting one of the biggest mouths in radio on your side. Whether it be good or bad, Stern is sure to bring a lot more attention to the topic.  With the amount of people that he can influence during a single morning show, this should prove to be a very prudent move on the PPA’s part.

In addition to the announcement of Stern’s membership, the PPA had plenty more activities lined up to try and sway our lawmakers over the side of the poker player.  Several of the more notable players in the game have met with representatives to give them their side of the story.  The fact that they are sitting down and listening to the pitch for H.R. 2267 (the Bill introduced by Barney Frank earlier this year) would lead everyone to believe that they are finally wising up and realizing that people playing online poker on their computer is not the end of the world and could lead to a huge amount of tax income for the country.

With the week ending on Saturday, hopefully the desired affect will have been reached.  The ultimate goal is to have The President take poker out of the UIGEA legislation that it was attached to during the Bush Administration.  Many Americans have made their desires known, and if he is truly representing the voice of the people, he will change this ridiculous legislation and once again allow poker to be played legally online in the United States.

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Posted by Dan Brown in Online Poker News | No Comments »

New Hampshire Lottery Customers Blocked Due to UIGEA

Date: January 25, 2009

It has been recently reported that customers that have attempted to purchase lottery tickets online are now having their credit cards rejected. The reason is due to the implementation of the UIGEA. According to the New Hampshire Union Ledger, customers that try to purchase Powerball and Tri-State Megabucks are having their cards declined for the purchase.

Rick Wisler, the NH State Lottery Executive Director, stated, “We could end up losing some significant revenue from this. It can amount to a million dollars a year or more to the Lottery if credit cards are not allowed.” He also stated that they were “caught in the cross-hairs of over-regulation.”

The UIGEA went into effect officially on January 19th of this year. Many banks are chosing to block any transaction that is coded as gambling in order to save any headache regarding the UIGEA. Lotteries are supposed to be exempt from the policy, but as in the case of the NH lottery, this does not appear to be the case.

The UIGEA is supposed to put restrictions on banks and financial institutions regarding various forms of gambling. Poker lobbyists are trying to get poker an exemption like the one that state lotteries have received.

Many websites have dropped out of the US market due to the UIGEA regulations. Other sites such as PokerStars.com and Full Tilt Poker have continued operations.

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Posted by James in Poker News | No Comments »

Poker Ruled a Game of Skill In Pennsylvania

Date: January 23, 2009

Poker has been ruled a game of skill in Pennsylvania. A case against a small-stakes home game was recently dismissed when the judge ruled that poker is a game of skill. Columbia County Judge Thomas James stated that, “The Court finds that Texas hold’em poker is a game where skill predominates over chance. Thus, is it not ‘unlawful gambling’ under the Pennsylvania Code.” This ruling only applied to Columbia and Montour counties, which is the jurisdiction of Judge James.

The original case charged two people with unlawful gaming for running a $1-$2 NL Holdem game in their garage. Rake was not taken, but tipping the dealer was encouraged. State police investigated the game by sending undercover officers to the game approximately 20 times.

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The attorney for the two defendants, Pete Campana, stated “I’ve seen poker players of all calibers; there’s no question in my mind that skill controls poker more than luck of the draw.” John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance stated, “The judge in this case issued a well-researched and reasoned decision which supports arguments the PPA and others have made about poker being a game of predominant skill. The decision does not have legal precedent outside the two rural counties in Pennsylvania, however, it is a significant victory in the overall battle to demonstrate that poker is not pure chance gambling. The PPA hopes to leverage this win in other trials in other states where we have an opportunity to argue the skill of poker.”

This case is being viewed as a potential stepping stone for getting online poker ruled as a game of skill. A ruling of poker being a game of skill would go a long way in getting the UIGEA overturned or an exclusion to online poker granted to exclude it from the UIGEA.

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Posted by James in Poker News | No Comments »