PPA Asks for Poker’s Exemption from UIGEA

by Lou on May 31, 2010

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) submitted an eleventh-hour petition to the US Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Board, asking that they clarify the provisions of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and its implications for online poker. With a June 1 UIGEA implementation date looming on the near horizon, this might be the only available option to remove poker from UIGEA’s clutches for the immediate future.

The PPA specifically requested that they clarify the phrase “unlawful Internet gambling,” to specify that it does not include peer-to-peer games such as poker. The petition, addressed to Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve and Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury, included a cover letter signed by 22 members of Congress.

The petition included this language: “There is settled federal law that Internet sports betting placed by individuals in the US violates the Wire Act. There also seems to be some consensus that accepting bets on house banked-games of chance violates state law. We believe the best way to clarify the regulation is to have the regulation apply only to those two forms of gambling, about which there is some consensus, and to exempt from the scope of the regulation peer-to-peer and pari-mutuel wagering.”

Poker appears to have adopted the strategy of separating itself from sport betting and other forms of online gaming that are neither peer-to-peer or specifically covered by other laws, such as the Wire Act.

Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance John Pappas (pictured right) was quoted as saying, “We are still strongly supporting legislative efforts to license and regulate online poker … but believe our petition is the best bet to address the short-term issues facing online poker.”

That sound you hear is sports betting and online table games being kicked under the bus, but then again, politics is a contact sport—and it can be brutal.

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