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Online Poker Legalization Bill Coming Next Week 168

Posted by Soulskill
from the expected-to-pass-the-full-house dept.
GovTechGuy writes "Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) could introduce his bill to legalize online poker as soon as next week. The bill would legalize the game in all 50 states, but sites could only be set up in states where gambling is already legal, so they can be licensed through existing gaming commissions. States could choose to opt-out of the law and ban online poker by referendum or a vote of the state legislature. The bill would also create a federal regulatory body to oversee the game."
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Online Poker Legalization Bill Coming Next Week

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  • What are the odds of this passing?
  • Now that is where the cash is!

    or at least add it to the OTB's.

    • by AA23ds (1683718)
      Adding sports betting would kill this in a hurry imo. Get this going, & then add on bj/sports/etc.
  • There is no reasonable reason why it's illegal in any state. Puritan rules are utterly stupid. Along with dumbass blue laws.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by johncandale (1430587)
      You know crime rates go through the roof around casinos right? http://www.uga.edu/news/newsbureau/releases/1999releases/gambling.html [uga.edu] Also I think your title was meant to be "should be legal"
      • by obarthelemy (160321) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @07:46PM (#36487684)

        "go through the roof" = +8%. You sir have very low roofs.

        Also, there may be some bias: there usually is quite heavy security around the casinos, which leads to more crimes being detected and reported (and prosecuted), for the same amount of crimes committed.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Add in the cameras and off duty cops used for that security and I bet it covers all or most of that 8%.

          Lots of unreported crime when no one is watching.

        • Now who is being biased? Source that shows increased crime rate is from increased police presence or you are just blowing smoke. Also 8% is a huge crime increase for a neighborhood
      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        So then crime rates will shoot up around free wifi if we make internet poker legal?

        An 8% increase is not crime rates going through the roof. Considering the link to the paper is dead, this seems like rather poor evidence all around.

        • by vaporland (713337)

          So then crime rates will shoot up around free wifi if we make internet poker legal?

          The big crime increase will come from all the noobs being scammed by the folks who play dirty by rigging or hacking [google.com] online poker systems.

          When I was in high school (1976) I wrote a poker program that cheated. I used to challenge the stupid rednecks who hated my geekiness to play the computer for real money. My program would let them win for a little while, and then take them to the cleaners.

          It was pretty amusing, so I never ev

          • by mattack2 (1165421)

            Yes, *YOU* can write a poker program that cheats.

            Do you think the slot machines or table games in Vegas cheat? They are highly regulated.

            Yes, there have been cases of sites cheating people (Absolute Poker, Ultimate Bet)... and the current situation with PokerStars is scary from a business point of view, but as far as what's known now, nothing is known to be wrong with the site itself.

            BTW, I have never spent a cent in online poker (but have thought about it -- not possible since Black Friday(*), however.)

            (*

            • by mattack2 (1165421)

              Actually, I correct myself. The "cheating" cases have been people using superuser accounts.. They have not been cases of "the computer doesn't play the game legitimately".

      • by LS (57954)

        Because gambling is illegal mostly everywhere and treated as somewhat taboo, the few places where they exist become dens of crime. Same with drugs. Legalize them and you disperse the problem.

  • by johncandale (1430587) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @07:36PM (#36487626)
    No No No. Why need to a create a federal regulatory body? For interstate taxing? That is why you are forcing it to be run in a state with a gaming commission. everything else is ok. But get back to me when this is actually close to passing.
  • The bill would also create a federal regulatory body to oversee the game

    Ahhh... well, I'm pretty sure there are not enough regulatory bodies out there already... I wonder, has anyone actually counted the number of federal regulatory bodies / organizations / commissions / etc... and how many people work there? And how much it costs? Do we need 128 bit arithmetic for that?

    Oh, and, BTW, how many of those have usefulness different than zero?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Las Vegas et al were the ones who lobbied hard to ban online gambling because it competed with their profits. Now that they see how much money could be made from such gambling arenas, they're lobbying hard to re-legalize it but in such a way that ensures that they're the only game in town.

    It's the U.S.'s pro govt imposed monopolist mentality all over again.

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      Except the moved it away from Aruba, ignored the WTO, and now want to legalize it INSIDE the US. I mean why let those dirty foreigners have access to gambling money. Better that dirty Americans have it.
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @08:07PM (#36487768) Homepage
    Is that OK? Has anyone legalised it yet? It's really important that I know if Senator John Johnson III has passed a bill saying that it's no longer illegal for me to scratch my ass.
  • This law makes it legal everywhere... except where state legislatures or voters vote to make it illegal. So all of the states that already ban it will vote to ban it (or maybe they'll just argue that having already banned it they have already made the vote and don't need another), and all of those that allow it will continue to allow it. Net effect, zero.

    I don't really care about on-line gambling one way or another, but it seems silly to waste time and effort on a law that will ultimately change nothing

    • If it shifts the decision to the states, it's already a good thing, even if the states decide to maintain the status quo for now. People have different preferences everywhere, and eventually this may well lead to decriminalizing this in some more liberal states. If Bible Belt wants to stick to it, I don't see a problem with that, either.

      • by swillden (191260)
        Hmm. I thought it already was up to the states. Was there a federal statute I wasn't aware of?
        • So far as I know, this [wikipedia.org] is what currently restricts it on federal level. It is being actively enforced [wikipedia.org] specifically against online poker providers.

          • by swillden (191260)
            Ah, thanks. Not a NOP, then. And I'm all in favor of minimizing federal regulatory scope. With rare exceptions (those whose interstate nature makes it impossible for states to address) crime is and should be primarily a state-level issue, and this is particularly true when the crime in question is one that people actively debate.
      • by inKubus (199753)

        No, this is bad because we're talking about the Internet, which really should be governed by a law Higher Than The U.S. Government (which doesn't really exist, yes), not one lower. The issue is that there's no real way to determine if a person is in an area legal or not for the gambling. Furthermore, would it be legal if the computer actually "playing" the game is in a legal state and the "player" is logged in via terminal services? Or is it based on residency? What if a person is a resident of Nevada b

        • The issue is that there's no real way to determine if a person is in an area legal or not for the gambling. Furthermore, would it be legal if the computer actually "playing" the game is in a legal state and the "player" is logged in via terminal services? Or is it based on residency? What if a person is a resident of Nevada but is on vacation in Utah? Can they use it?

          It's not fundamentally different than many other activities that occur across the state boundaries. The answers to your questions are fairly straightforward: the state has jurisdiction over 1) anyone and anything directly committed on its territory, and 2) its citizens, even for acts committed outside the state (insofar as this can be enforced if the person does not return to the state). How a state chooses to use this leeway is up to the state itself.

          The ultimate point here is that the state can persecute

  • Why do we need YET ANOTHER big government agency to regulate something that has been completely self-regulated, and successfully so, up until now?

    Oh that's right. The big government wants its rake, too.

  • What he wants to do is create a new taxing agency and have everyone in the world who wishes to cater to follow the arbitrary rules of that new agency. SInce there does not appear to be any direct income to the federal government, I assume he expect the tax payers to fund this new and innovative level of government.

    Furthermore he expects all these firms who may ot conduct any business int he US, US citizens have to call them, are going to have to pay protection money to the organized crime syndicates that control the varied states in which gambling is legal. This would be like a US company having to pay the Russian mob before a Russian citizen can order a widget from the US company. What would happen is if a Russian party did receive goods form the US, they would pay a tarrif on when it entered the country. This is what should happen, use the rules we have. I can tell you that many cities in texas have a number of thinly veiled gambling houses and the laws are not being enforced.

    I think that US citizens should be able to link foreign sites an gamble as they please. If the money or good are drawn from foreign sources and brought into the US, that is legal. If the good are US domestic that may be a problem. If the web sites are registered local then that might also be a problem as the US government can and will take it. The taking does not necessarily limit the ability to gamble.

    Also, in case you don't know, the skill thing is a nod to the many irrational christians in texas. They are experts in situational ethics so that, for instance, preventing a the termination of fetus at 4 weeks requires huge amounts of taxpayer funding, but not taxpayer funding is required to prevent the baby from dying at 1 year. Gambling is bad, but if he can fool enough people into thinking that poker is skills it won't hurt their brains, even though most gambling houses will kick you out if you really use skill.

    • by Rockoon (1252108)

      Gambling is bad, but if he can fool enough people into thinking that poker is skills it won't hurt their brains, even though most gambling houses will kick you out if you really use skill.

      I would love to play against you in any form of poker. The reason is that not only don't you know that its a game of skill, you in fact insist that it isnt a game of skill.
      I could take your money from you forever, and you will curse your bad luck the whole way. God I love people like you.

  • Once it's legal and regulated at the federal level like he's proposing, the states have no power over it unless they want to face multitudes of costly federal court battles over attempts to regulate interstate commerce.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The online and offline gaming scene is highly corrupt. In countries where it *is* legal, certification agencies have no clue what they're doing. Getting certified is more a matter of money and politics than whether or not you cheat players (which most companies do!).

    Online gambling is nearly impossible to regulate. It's way too easy to cheat people without getting caught which is why I believe it should remain illegal.

  • I'm a good poker player. Online I've increased my initial buyin by over 100000% until they shut em down with no luckboxing a MTT. Live poker has downfalls I don't like. You cannot mute a racist hatemonger at a poker table, and you can't walk away from the table if it is a tournament. Live does not let you play for low buyins if you're not psyched up for medium play. Live rarely has tournaments and sit and gos. Live has a bigger rake than online. There's a lot of reasons why I like online vs casinos.
    • Oh come now, we all know you just enjoy the ability to play with no clothes on! Must admit I have done that more than once.

    • by mattack2 (1165421)

      and you can't walk away from the table if it is a tournament.

      Huh what?

      Yes you can, you'll just be blinded off... Just like you would be online.

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