Ban On U.S. Online Gambling – Land of the Free?
As of today, online gambling is banned in the land of the free. Ever since “Black Friday”, the darkest day for online American players, both world-class and semi-pros alike have to toss in their bets at a regular casino – or find another line of work.
Origins of the ban
The ban originally began on October 13, 2006, when President Bush signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which bans gaming businesses from knowingly accepting bets or wagers on the Internet, that’s banned by state or federal law. Now, here’s the catch: The language of the bill doesn’t specifically mention wagering on games of chance, like poker, state lotteries, or even horse racing. Such confusing language has left one to scratch their heads in confusion as to what’s illegal to bet on online or not.
The online poker world’s D-Day came on April 16, 2011, when PokerStars.com, FullTilt.com and UtimateBet.com were shut down in an massive FBI raid. All American players’ real money accounts were shut down, which prevented them from depositing or withdrawing their assets. The raid literally put an end to man American poker players’ careers – at least online. What’s worse about this fiasco is many American account holders has yet to receive the online gokkasten funds that’s still under Federal gov’t control. Sure, the Feds and the Big Three of online poker are still negotiating when the funds will be returned, but it hasn’t budged much in nearly a year and a half (FullTilt has recently hired a third-party agency to return millions of dollars to its rightful owners.) This is an utter disgrace to all freedom-loving Americans – and democracy itself.
The Future of U.S. Online Poker
The future of online poker in America is shaky at best, despite it’s overwhelming popularity. Here’s some good news: Nevada will legalize online gambling in their state, by the year’s end. The state will be the first ever to do so.
In addition, Congress has a bill on the table, the Internet Poker Bill, which, if passed, will legalize online gaming in the good old U.S. of A. Now, here’s the bad news: The bill isn’t expected to pass this year – or even next year. This is due to not only pressing matters such as the Presidential election and the economy.
Most of its supporters, like Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) are expected to retire at the end of the year. Other lawmakers are saying the bill will be killed on the Senate floor, if it reaches there. Even President Obama supports the bill, not facing a possible ouster in November and issues here and abroad, it’s highly unlikely he’ll remain loyal to the cause.
Conclusion: The hard truth is it’s very unlikely that Internet gambling will be sanctioned by the U.S. gov’t anytime soon. In addition, many Native American-owned casinos, along with their lobbyists, are protesting the bill’s passage. The reason for this they fear their revenues will be greatly cut, so they, and anti-gambling organizations, will do everything in their power to keep things the way it is in the “land of the free.”