Controversy over whether US poker sites are rigged will not go away soon. While there are players who want the government to regulate US gaming, there are others who are Fundamentals and want no part of government interference in their game.
Inottest poker hubs like Las Vegas, LA and Atlantic City, US card rooms are permitted to operate by the state gaming compact. Sites set up outside of this scope are run by private interests.
However the recent scrutiny of many sites has prompted calls for nationwide regulation of US poker. An opinion poll conducted by the Washington Post estimates that 70% of Americans support the idea of national regulation of US lotteries, and of those surveyed only 2% were skeptical.
Likewise a recent poll by the Ascot group of top UK bookmakers showed that 70% of people asked supported national regulation of US lotteries.
Those calling for regulation of online poker were joined by Barney Frank, a former chief of staff to House of Representatives and sponsor of HR 5767, the “Skill Game Protection Act.” According to the group’s findings, the bill would “increase the government’s ability to regulate skill-based games, such as poker, and sports betting, and make sure that companies are not running an unfair business.”
The bill was Cutler’s idea after he and another former aide to Rep. Barney Frank,ieskills.com, wrote to the House Ways and Means Committee to request that they examine the legality of poker websites operating in the United States. According to the letter, the US government has no jurisdiction over international gambling and such cases are often subject to state and federal criminal laws.
Since the lobbies for online poker seem bottomless, it will be very difficult, if not impossible to separate fact from fiction.
- For better or worse, will the Justice Department bring charges against an online poker operator, such as Poker Stars, for money laundering and tax evasion?- What about the tens of thousands of US poker players who have lost money to online poker operators? Will those operators be subject to scrutiny by the taxman and the FBI?- What about the other aspect of racketeering, such as the makers of software that allow players to participate from hundreds of miles away?
The Internet itself, it seems, is America’s raison d’etre for everything. Even online poker apparently has not been immune tofaremaking. The Register-for-profit publication Strategies 360 recently carried an article about the tax practices of offshore investment funds. The article discussed how investors often save more money than they must because of the lower-cost structure of many offshore funds as compared to their conventional brokers. The management of these funds, Strategies 360 observed, often results in “the loss of investible funds” and suggests that “the Government of France would be wise to follow Britain’s lead and regulate offshore investment funds.”
The prospect of regulation by the US Government might, in the minds of some, Strange bedfounds. President Richard Nixon tried just that. During the 1970s, he tried, unsuccessfully, to have Congress pass a law defining gambling as aRTDeed. (It failed.)