Monday, October 10, 2011

The State of Online Poker in the U.S.

Online Poker still exists in various forms in the U.S. But there are problems with online poker for all. For the U.S. state and federal governments, it’s a problem because they are losing money each and every day the country delays passing a law that would make it legal for American citizens to play poker for money over the Internet.

The dilemma for players is that although there are poker sites still accepting U.S. players due to the Department of Justice crackdown on PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker, there are fewer such sites. That means that U.S. players need to go to online resources such as to find out which Internet poker rooms are friendly to U.S. Players.

What Needs to Be Done

It’s clear that online poker is not going away. There are millions in the U.S. who love playing games such as Texas Holdem, Omaha and Seven-Card Stud online. Although there are some great online choices for those living in the U.S., it takes more time than in the past to set up the mechanism for funding your poker account.

The country needs to have a federal law passed and it needs to happen soon. That law must allow each state to license and regulate online poker. Although certain state legislatures have been actively pursuing creating their own laws regarding online poker for real money, none have been able to successfully do so.

What is Happening

At this point, there are various bills in various states of development that have gained support from both sides of the U.S. Congress. The problem in getting any passed is twofold. The first is the country is struggling with various issues related to unemployment, a faltering economy and the need for more tax money. Thus, Congress is basically too busy to address the poker issue.

The other challenge simply has to do with legislators finally coming to some agreement regarding how to structure a bill so that it is effective, equitable and comprehensive. Although there have been some erstwhile attempts at creating legislation none have panned out.

The interesting thing is that the American people and various organizations are not letting the subject drop. Grassroots organizations such as the Poker Players Alliance and Fair Play America have worked diligently to meet with lawmakers and to get their members involved in the movement to finally get online poker legislation passed.

Also, the American Gaming Association, which represents the casino gaming industry in the U.S. and addresses federal legislative and regulatory issues, is on record as saying they are going to be meeting individually with over 100 members of Congress to ensure an online gaming bill is passed.

Benefits to All

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or Democrat, the basic fact is once playing online poker for money is legalized in the U.S., there will be an increase in jobs related and connected to the industry, and the federal and state governments will be able to collect taxes and fees from online poker room operators. Also, U.S. poker players, both pros and amateurs, will be happy again as they will be able to sit at their computer and play poker without worry of reprisal. An online poker bill would be a win-win-win situation for all as the poker room operators, government treasuries and the players would all benefit greatly.

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