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Thursday, May 04, 2006 

Congress Moves Forward On Putting Online Poker Players In Jail

Original story can be viewed here

Here's the deal:

Those students who are upsetting professors by playing online poker while in class may have a bigger problem to deal with: five years hard time. We've mentioned this before, but many Americans who play online poker insist that the only ones at legal risk are the operators of online poker sites. The current law is ambiguous on this (and ambiguous on whether or not poker is considered "gambling"), but the Justice Department has made statements claiming that players of online poker and similar online games involving better could be committing crimes. To help clarify this, some Congressman have put forth legislation that makes these things illegal (subject to five years in jail). The bill in question has now been approved by a Congressional subcommittee. Similar bills have been put forth before and failed to get anywhere, and this one has a very long way to go before it becomes a law... but you have to wonder about any piece of legislation that would turn so many people into criminals overnight. Meanwhile, financial institutions are opposing the bill, noting that it would require them to get involved in trying to stop customers from gambling online -- an enforcement job they don't want. However, those same financial institutions are probably happy to note that the bill carves out an exemption for buying and selling stocks online -- which some people (often reasonably) do view as a form of gambling.

I figured this story bears mentioning in that should such a scenario come to fruition, this would severely impact my play. Granted, I'm sure should something like this take place, alternatives and loopholes will emerge. However, every few weeks it seems such news makes it's way to the forefront of the semi-public eye. As the story mentions, this has a long way to go, but I'm surely going to keep my eye on crap like this. Although, maybe this will be the reason I need to move to Costa Rica. Hmmm...

If anyone cares to comment...please do.
-Adam

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