Eric Holder, a US Attorney General is of the opinion that the federal shutdown of the poker sites is completely appropriate and is in full support of it. However, he also questions whether poker is a game of skill or chance.
At a hearing at the House Judiciary Committee, Holder stated that there were certain laws pertaining to online poker that had to be enforced. He also claimed that US authorities were doing exactly this when they were dealing with the shutdown of the top three poker sites which were found to be violating US poker laws regarding banking transactions with American financial institutions.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan recently shut down three of the top US poker sites; Absolute Poker, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. They also indicted the founders of these sites for operating illegal businesses, transacting with American financial institutions and for posing as retail operators to regulate these transactions.
However, when Eric Holder was questioned regarding his opinion about poker and asked whether it was a game of chance or of skill he refused to comment on the question. When asked whether Phil Ivey was just lucky, Holder accepted that although he did not know Phil Ivey and was not a poker player he did think there was a certain extent of skill involved in the game.
Federal prosecutors have also recently filed a notification that states why poker should be considered to be a game of chance. This document also supports an agreement with James Davitt, who pleaded guilty to operating an illegal gambling business dealing with Full Tilt Poker to make online payments to poker players.
Adam Holder, a US Attorney General also commented on the issue and stated the onus was on Congress to clarify the meaning of the laws on online poker. However, according to the law, as long as the current laws on internet gambling exist, authorities will have to ensure that they are enforced and executed just the same.
Although the Federal Government seems keen to stick to their stand against US online poker, they may be put into a position where they have to agree that the laws regarding online poker have to be revised and clarified if they do not want this whole matter to be considered a legal mess. Also, for any future US online poker indictments, a clarification regarding the UIGEA law would be required.