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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Will we finally see legal online poker?

I feel like I must give a little disclaimer before posting as I am both an avid poker player, (three-time Brooktown WSOP Final Champion), and supporter of Poker Players Alliance.  That being said, it looks like the way may be paved for states to start legalizing internet poker. 

In a recent Department of Justice Opinion READ THE DOJ OPINION HERE, issued on September 20, 2011 but released last week, there seems to be hope for poker enthusiasts.  Two states, Illinois and New York, requested an opinion on whether they could use the internet and interstate transmissions to sell lottery tickets. Now this doesn't seem related to poker but the DOJ clarified the 1961 Wire Act which many feel is the main road block to legal internet poker.  The important clarification that the DOJ made was "Interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a “sporting event or contest” fall outside the reach of the Wire Act."  Since poker is not a sporting event or contest, many legal experts are interpreting this to mean that states are now free to legislate this area themselves. 

But what about the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, you may ask?  OK, I asked; you probably didn't.  It turns out the UIGEA prohibits placing or receiving an online bet where doing so is prohibited by state law.  So if New York legalizes internet poker (fingers crossed), which the new opinion seems to allow them to do, then it would be legal to play internet poker against other New York players and against any other states where internet poker is legal.

Let's go Governor Cuomo I'm all in.

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