After nearly eight months of waiting for the Obama government to respond to the “we people petition”, the White house has finally released a statement to address the status of online Poker. The statement released by the Brian Deese, the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council was not definitive in answering the issue raised in the petition.
The petition was put to the government by various stakeholders in the Poker industry with the aim of applying pressure to the government to regulate, and legalize online Poker. The petition argued that a regulated Poker industry will create jobs, protect consumers and generate revenue for the government through taxation. The petition gave the example of the regulated horse racing which has generated billions of dollars since inception. The petition received a total of 9,816 signatures, thus demanding a response from the government. The petition over 5,000 signatures after only three days since it was launched. The petition was created on September 22nd 2011.
You can read the full petition here
The statement released by Brian Deese was four paragraphs long. The first paragraph was just an introduction. Thanking the Poker player’s, alliance for petitioning the government to address their plight. The last paragraph was just a conclusion, leaving the second paragraph to carry the message intended for release.
The second paragraph acknowledges the fact that many American citizens love to gamble for the purpose of entertainment. Adding that online gambling in any sporting event or contest is contrary to the federal laws. Addressing the legality of the online gambling, the administration passed the ball to the individual states arguing that it is the prerogative of each state to determine if gambling can be legalized or not. The statement made it clear that online gambling that is not authorized by the state laws is illegal under the federal law.
The third paragraph addresses issues that have made the administration reluctant to give the green light on online Poker. Some of the areas of concern raised by the administration are: the possibility of minors involved in gambling, money laundering and fraud against unsuspecting customers. To prevent the occurrence of such, the administration will continue to analyze and review the online gambling issue with the aim of guarding against the use of gambling sites are avenues for preying against unsuspecting individuals.
You can read the full statement here
The delayed response to this issue by administration had raised hopes that maybe the administration had crossed the Rubicon, and finally seen the benefit of ceding to the petition. The statement will not be popular amongst Poker lovers, but will not reduce the push of having online Poker to be legalized in the United States.
Despite many of its citizen loving online Poker, it seems that it will take a long period of time before online Poker becomes legalized in the United States. The only state where online Poker is played and regulated is in the state of North Dakota. Online Poker was legalized in this state in 2005 as part of this legislation. Online Poker operations were required to physically establish their operation in the state of North Dakota. Other attempt to legalize online gambling has been defeated. The Poker community in the United States was given a slap on the face when three big Poker sites i.e. Absolute Poker, Poker stars, and Full Tilt Poker for engaging in illegal activities an incident that has since been known as the “Black Friday”