Poker history made yesterday, November 27, 2009: The United States Federal Reserve and Department of Treasury delayed the implementation by six months of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) regulations. What does that mean for poker?
It gives legislators extra times to clarify this vague law and to pass legislation to license and regulate poker early in 2010. Is that important to us as poker players. Absolutely! It may be the impetus to finally regulate online poker in the United States.
John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, said he thinks the extension of six months rather than the requested year could actually help poker's cause. It may provide a sense of urgency to those in Congress who support the licensing and regulation of the Internet poker industry.
How did this all come about? Primarily through the efforts of the Poker Players Alliance, the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide. Frankly, this is a model to all Americans that when we stand together and make our voices heard, our government will listen.
Online poker created a new industry: If there is one major industry directly responsible for the poker boom, it is online poker. Think about this. Couple the millions of players that learned how to play the game online starting in 1998, with the impact of the televised final tables of the World Poker Tour first airing in 2002, and we have a new industry that effectively sprang up overnight.
Frankly, legislation like the UIGEA, which strikes fear in our hearts, is one of the reasons our economy has suffered over the last three years. Within the online poker industry, there are billions of dollars of untapped business tax revenues. Where would the United States economy be today if we had had the benefit of those tax dollars over the last 11 years?
Poker history in review: In 2006, the UIGEA became law by default. Some say legislatures debated the issue over the previous ten years; however, no one can deny that the UIGEA became law because it was tacked onto another piece of legislation that is called 'must pass' legislation. The mule, so to speak, was the Safe Port Act, dealing with protecting our ports from terrorism; it was voted on the night before Congress adjourned prior to the 2006 mid-term elections. Does that make you squint your eyes and say, "Hmmm?"
Poker players call to action: If you are not already a member of Poker Players Alliance, go right now to thePPA.org and join. You can join free or become a premium member for a small $20.00 donation.
Please join Poker Players Alliance now. Go to thePPA.org