Will online poker be exempted from the UIGEA?

by Lou on February 11, 2007

According to Las Vegas Sun reporter Jeff Simpson, recently circulated reports that online poker may be exempted in the future from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act are just wishful thinking.

The American Gaming Association’s head thinks this will not happen
Simpson recently talked with the American Gaming Association’s president, Frank Fahrenkopf, who told Simpson that “they don’t have a chance in hell,” to get a poker exemption from the new UIGEA.

Fahrenkopf’s remarks were made after Poker Player Alliance President Michael Bolcerek’s described a meeting with officials in Key West, Florida in which those officials said that they understood the legitimacy of poker as a game of skill. According to Fahrenkopf, the American Gaming Association is pushing for a study to discover if the online gaming industry has the technology available to keep problem gambling at a minimum and to keep underage curiosity seekers out of the industry. They’ve been supporting this agenda for some time now.

However, Fahrenkopf believes that even if the industry can keep problem gambling in check, its legalization is still not a done deal. He believes that the tax rates established by individual states would be too high for online sites to turn a profit.

Is the Poker Player’s Alliance about to strike a deal with a savvy Washington insider and political heavy hitter? Rumors say yes; but I can’t say whom, or when!
The Poker Player’s Alliance may have another card to play. Rumors circulating throughout the poker community say that the PPA is about to announce the appointment of a well-known, very well connected former United States Senator (an avid poker player) to their leadership. While both of the unrelated sources that shared this with me pledged me to secrecy, if this connection is made it will go a long way to legitimizing the PPA in the eyes of elected officials on both sides of the aisle, and enhance poker’s respectability in the process.

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