Official White House Response to Online Poker

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The white house has created an official response to an online petition related to Online Poker. The petition was created as part of the “We The People”  campaign, here is how it is described:

“My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and efffectiveness (sic) in government.”

— President Barack Obama

Click here to read the entire response, and comment.

I will skip the first paragraph, as it just intro mumbo-jumbo, thanking you for participating and what-not. So here is paragraph two:

The Administration understands that many Americans engage in paid online poker games for entertainment purposes. Online gambling on sporting events or contests violates federal law. The legality of other forms of online gambling is dependent upon the law of the states where the bettor or gambling business is located. It is left to each state to determine whether it wishes to permit such activity between its residents and an online poker business authorized by that state to accept such wagers, but online gambling that is not authorized by state law may also violate federal statutes.

I love how this is wrote, it is so refreshing compared to the statement form the US department of Justice over the past many years. It makes claims that online poker may be against federal law if it not authorized by the state, an extreme softening of the position presented by the DOJ in years past. Of course, it is far from saying online poker is legal.

The rapid and anonymous nature of the internet distinguishes online games from onsite games, such as those in casinos, and creates distinct challenges. For example, there are many means of technologically circumventing restrictions on online gambling that can allow individuals from countries where gambling is illegal — or even minors — to play using real currency. Online games also have greater potential for fraud because gambling websites are much cheaper and easier to establish than on-site locations, and like telemarketing scams, can appear and disappear overnight. Finally, online gambling can be used in money laundering schemes because of the volume, speed, anonymity, and international reach made possible by internet transactions. The Administration will continue to examine this issue and is open to solutions that would help guard against the use of online gambling sites as tools for conducting illegal activities or preying on unsuspecting individuals to the extent that online gambling is permitted.

The third paragraph talks about protection, and the inability for a poker website to do so. Yet they can do it just fine for horse race betting and lottos. So of course it is just BS double speak. But, I do think it a very encouraging write up. It does not have the doom and gloom we have heard for years about online poker.

The fourth paragraph thanks us again, and the response is finished.

My Conclusion

This is an interesting write-up from the office of the President of the United States. It does not say things like, “any poker bill will be vetoed” or ” we will hunt down all poker players”, it acknowledges that people play online poker for money and simply offers a warning for scams and the like. However, it does not claim the administration has any real intent to further the issue. I suspect Mr. Obama has enough on his plate that online poker is far out of his radar.