Next Tuesday, June 1st, marks the date on which banks, credit card companies, and other financial institutions must comply with the regulations for the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. The regulations were originally supposed to go into effect last December, but the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the million-member strong poker lobbying organization, successfully petitioned both the United States Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to delay the regulations for six months.
The PPA has been trying to get the regulations pushed back once again, but so far, the Treasury and Fed have not responded. In a video posted on the PPA’s website (http://www.pokerplayersalliance.com), PPA Executive Director John Pappas addressed the situation:
“Unfortunately, we haven’t had much success legislatively getting a final delay and a final stop of the UIGEA, but the PPA hasn’t stopped. We have filed another petition…which we already have the support of more than 22 members of Congress. We’re working to get broader support. This petition isn’t a delay, per se, but it would exempt poker and other peer-to-peer style gaming from the enforcement of the UIGEA. We think it’s a very reasonable request of the Treasury and Fed and we’re hopeful that they will adopt this request.”
One of the big roadblocks in the way of the new petition is in the form of one of the primary enemies of the online poker community, Republican Senator John Kyl from Arizona. Sen. Kyl was one of the major Senate supporters of the UIGEA and even delayed the appointment of six of President Barack Obama’s nominees to the Treasury out of spite for the pushing back of the UIGEA regulations. Recently, PPA Chairman and former Senator Alfonse D’Amato met with Senator Kyl in order to win his support for the new PPA petition that would exempt poker from the UIGEA. Senator Kyl refused to comprise.
In the previously mentioned video, John Pappas reassured poker fans that everything will be fine:
“Nevertheless, if the UIGEA does come into effect full force on June 1st, we don’t expect this to be a doomsday scenario. To be clear, it is not going to be unlawful for you, the poker player, to play internet poker. Nothing in the UIGEA makes it illegal for individuals to play.”
Pappas also stressed that when it comes time for players to withdraw some of their funds from online poker sites, there should be no problems. The UIGEA’s intent is to block funds from flowing from the United States to online poker rooms, but not to block money coming back from the poker rooms to the players.
Some of online gambling’s opponents, including Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R – Va.), claim that since the UIGEA passed in late 2006, online gambling has decreased. If that is true (and there is a great deal of doubt that it is), what they fail to point out is that numbers were naturally going to decline from the poker boom that was experienced in the middle of the ’00 decade and the United States has gone through one of its worst economic downturns of the last century. In the meantime, according to PokerScout.com, online poker traffic is growing at an annual rate of 9 percent.

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