The stage has been set for an oversight hearing on Internet gambling by the US Senate and the entire US poker community is waiting for the results of this. Once again, the topic of discussion at the hearing will be based on the “Regulation of Tribal Gaming: From Brick & Mortar to the Internet.” This is not the first time the US Senate has decided to hold a hearing on this matter. In fact – it is the third time the Senate has decided to drag the matter back into the spotlight, and ponder again on the effects of online gambling on the country’s Indian tribal community.
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The firsts of the many discussions were held in November 2011, and was given the title – “Future of Internet Gaming: What’s at Stake for Tribes?”The point was moot considering that the Indian tribes in the US did not wish to involve themselves in a matter, they believed would cause more harm than good. The Indian tribes therefore, opposed the usefulness of regulating online poker. Glen Gobin, the Tulalip Tribe Vice Chairman spoke for his tribesmen stating that, the legalization of Internet gambling would for its part, deter the development of the Indian tribes as a whole.
However, in reply to Gobin’s statement, Alfonse D’Amato Chairman of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) carefully modulated Gobin’s words and insisted that legitimizing Internet gambling would not affect the tribes in the way stated. He also further asserted by saying that Gobin’s fears were totally unaccounted for. D’Amato also claimed that from the total revenues Indian casinos made, only about 1% of it was made through poker. D’Amato also insisted that legitimizing poker would only bring about an increase in participation and revenue.
Patrick Fleming PPA’s Litigation Support Director also supported D’Amato’s views by quashing the tribes’ “fear of the unknown.” Kevin Washburn, Dean of the School of Law Administration – University of New Mexico lashed out the Department of Justice decision to legalize poker and hand over the power to regulate it to the States. According to Washburn, this would only cause chaos and confusion. The only way to actually maintain a uniform legislation according to Washburn would be by maintaining it at a federal level.
This month will play host to yet another hearing and the hearing will be held on Thursday afternoon in Room 628 of the Senate Dirksen Building. The list of witness taking part will be announced shortly. The entire hearing can be viewed online through webcast.

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