Monday, October 16, 2006

Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006

I haven't said much about this, as I'm still hoping it goes away. For those who have missed it, here's a quick summary of how this bill, attached to a port defense bill:
The law makes it illegal for banks, credit card companies and other financial intermediaries to transfer funds to online gambling sites. It does not outlaw the sites, or make playing on them a criminal act, it just makes it difficult to conduct financial transactions. Curiously, online betting on horse racing is still allowed, and not surprisingly, state-sponsored lotteries have also been exempted.
In short, paying for poker online is now illegal. Now, I need to look at this further, but it doesn't yet stop those sites paying you (notice "transfer funds to online gambling sites" not from) so events like the PokerStarts Blogger tournament may still be okay - not sure though.

Quick summary; If you were lucky enough to live in a state where you could legally play online for money, that free ride has likely ended for now. Once this goes live, banks and credit card companies will be the ones penalized for you doing so, and they're going to lock you down. What will be interesting is what happens after this; will there be a "Poker Banking" site that pops up that can take your funds and give'em to the company?

Play money games are safe, no real funds are exchanged.

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