ESPN, which has had as much to do with the resurgence of poker as hole card cams, the World Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker, recently featured a sizeable article that accurately depicts the current poker landscape as well as the views of not only some of the more visible members of the poker community but also some who play recreationally online.
Written by Paula Lavigne, the article entitled “High Stakes Hand For Online Poker” states that the time has potentially come for the final showdown on the online poker question. Lavigne quotes PPA Executive Director John Pappas as saying, “It could be the battle of the OK Corral for Internet poker – to determine, once and for all in a federal court setting, the legality of the game, which we contend is legal under current federal law.”
Lavigne points out in her article that the laws regarding the online game have always been in a gray area. While the government contends that the 1961 Wire Act, which was established to prevent organized crime from running bookmaking operations over phone lines, also applies to the internet, players such as former World Champion Greg Raymer and noted gaming lawyer I. Nelson Rose believe that the government is overstepping its legal bounds.
At issue also is the recent seizure of over $30 million by the federal government. As many in the poker world know, banks in the western United States were ordered to freeze the transactions of approximately 27,000 people who moved their money through three payment processors. Lavigne reports that one of those processors, Account Services Corporation in San Diego, has filed a lawsuit to have $14 million of their funds that were seized returned to them. That case is set to be heard on August 21st.
Lavigne continues on to track through the recent activities of Representative Barney Frank in the halls of Congress. Frank, who is pushing through legislation that will overturn the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 and implement the regulation and taxation of the industry, is quoted by Lavigne as stating, “My main reason for getting involved is to let people do what they want without the government interfering in their lives.”
Lavigne also notes the arguments of such groups as Focus on the Family against online gaming. Lavigne cites the problems that Focus on the Family has – including addiction, bankruptcy and crime, among other things – but also states that the UIGEA, in many legal opinions, doesn’t directly address online poker or any of these subjects.
The article is a very useful argument for the regulation and taxation of poker and also demonstrates that we are potentially at a pivotal point in online poker history. For more on the subject, read Paula Lavigne’s article on ESPN.com to learn more.

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