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Online Poker: UIGEA vs US Government
by Robert Shiloh

 There are some interesting things going on in the world of online poker. For starters let's clarify what the current law is in the US regarding online poker. The only thing that is currently illegal in the US in regards to online poker has to do with financial institutions (banks). In a nutshell, it is illegal for banks and processing companies in the US to process transactions related to online gaming period. A gaming site operator could also go down for aiding and abetting.

A U.S. online poker player has never been prosecuted for playing online poker. There are several online poker room empires that still take wagers from US bettors. Those rooms are Full tilt Poker, Poker Stars, Ultimate bet, and Bodog. The funny thing is that these poker rooms have endorsed players that you still see all over the television. Like, Jamie Gold, Joe Hachem, Chris Moneymaker, Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer, and many more. These online poker companies are private which allows them to avoid much scrutiny in the public eye.

It's amazing. I am playing poker on Bodog right now as I am writing this article. I used my ATM visa debit card to make a deposit on Bodog. The transaction was instantly approved by my US Bank. The bank I use is called U.S. Bank.

The UIGEA was passed last october and has many people wondering if it can be enforced. Ironically, the US online poker market has been consolidated into the hands of a few wealthy people and companies. The online poker rooms still exist and the ones like Poker stars that still take US players have grown by several hundred percent or more overnight.

There appears to be no end in sight to US poker. Online poker is a $6 billion dollar a year industry, and over 50% is from outside the US. Regardless of the US laws on the book, there is nothing federally illegal about a US citizen placing a poker wager online. There are 11 states whom have laws against it, so you should check the laws in your jurisdiction before ever making a wager of any kind online.

Ironically, it is also possible for a US citizen to own part or all of a online poker room providing the company isn't based in the US and that the company does not take wagers from US players. There are countless opportunities to get a piece of this market from any citizenship legally.

The much anticipated UIGEA court hearing to repeal the US law has been pushed up to September 26th 2007. iMEGA is filing suit against the US government. The defendants are the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors - all agreed to the date change. The reason for delay is that the defendants asked for more time to prepare their case.

Time will only tell as it appears the courts' decision and ruling could go either way.

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