goon attack wrote:
I thought all this was made illegal years ago?
Nope, that was a myth. The UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) was passed in 2008 by piggy-backing it on the Port Security Act which every politician absolutely had to vote for if they wanted to be re-elected. The UIGEA made it illegal for a bank to process a transaction that funded an illegal online gambling account.
The law made it illegal for a bank to process it, but nothing against the player for supplying the funds. The UIGEA did not prevent cashouts from occuring, only money being deposited. Additionally, with the exception of Washington state there was no law prohibiting the play of online poker. It was only illegal for a bank to process the outgoing transactions. In January, the Supreme Court upheld a law making it a felony to play online poker in Washington. Within a week Poker Stars and Full Tilt stopped allowing players from there to play.
There is a gray area about the UIGEA though. It is only illegal for a bank to fund an ILLEGAL online gambling site. The inclusion of the word illegal implies that funding a legal online gambling site would be acceptable. There has been a ton of legislation and court cases about whether poker falls under the UIGEA. Senator Bill Frist (R-KY) introduced the bill with the intention of outlawing online horse race betting to protect race tracks like The Kentucky Derby. Poker was not the intended target of the bill, but anti-online poker lobbyists used it as leverage. It never has been officially decided whether online poker is legal (although, the indictments of 11 poker site owners last Friday probably indicates where it was going).
Ultimately, Harrah's, who is the biggest supporter of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), is likely to benefit from this. In December, they tried to pass a bill to regulate online poker after a 15 month "blackout" period. If that bill passed, sites could apply for a license to legally offer online poker after 15 months. Harrah's would have gotten a license, but PS and FTP might not have. The blackout period was a safeguard against PS and FTP being established whereas Harrah's would have started from scratch. Now that PS and FTP are shutdown, there are rumors that Harrah's will have a site within three months as no blackout period is necessary to give them an edge on the market.