Thursday, January 25, 2007

The State of Online Poker...

... is disquieting, to say the least. "Disheartening" might be a better term.

Last week, after having the screws put to it by the U.S. gummit, NETeller, which was the money transfer service I - along with thousands of others - used to get money in/out of my poker accounts, closed to U.S. citizens. On the heels of the announcement I received an email from UltimateBet, noting several alternatives, one of which actually cut off its service to U.S. citizens a few hours later. PokerStars seems to be trying to keep a low profile. No email, just a notice on their site advising the unavailability of NETteller to U.S. citizens.

There are still alternatives, which I can try when I need to fund one of my two - possibly soon to be three accounts, as I'm thinking of dropping a (very) small bankroll into FullTilt, as many of my imaginary friends are migrating there. But, I'm expecting at some point in the future my bank will be sending me a notice, advising me that they're refusing the transfer, or one or more of the sites I play on will just decide that it's too much hassle to face the possible of their executives if they set foot on U.S. soil and say "sorry, Rico."

Of course, playing online poker isn't illegal. By God, I have two different emails from New Hamster's finest pols telling me that.

Yep.

Of course, it's getting more and more difficult for me to fund my playing, but at least I have the assurance that everything is just jake between me and my government.

I know just how a regular joe must have felt during prohibition, when all he wanted was a beer at day's end, and ended up having to go places he normally wouldn't go, meet people he didn't want to meet, and feel like a criminal in the process. All for a lousy beer.

The Poker Players' Alliance, which personally I feel has been about as useful as tits on a boar to date, sent out an email recently noting,

"...The PPA is not standing idly by. Poker should be exempt under the new law and that exemption is our primary goal. I have spent a good portion of January in Washington, D.C., meeting with lawmakers and others to get support for legislation that would provide a “skill game” exemption for poker. We hope to have a bill introduced very soon and then bring to bear the voice of more than 135,000 members of the PPA to push Congress to do the right thing. This would be a very positive development for the game. For the past year, we have been on the defensive, but now is the time to go on the offensive and get a bill introduced.

This year we will also be taking the issue directly to Members of Congress in their home districts, to truly nationalize the debate. We had a tremendous response from our members about becoming PPA grassroots representatives on the state and regional levels. Soon we will be announcing our positions across the country and engaging U.S. Representatives and Senators where they used to feel safe from facts and spirited debate.

While we are working toward the short-term goal of a poker exemption, the PPA will also be laying the foundation for the eventual U.S. regulation of online poker. This is the only proven public policy for online gaming. Licensing, regulating, and taxing online poker is technically feasible and the sensible and fiscally responsible thing to do. We will be working with others in Washington to move Congress in this direction.

Finally, we not only rely on your active participation but also on your active support to achieve our goals. Our new site now offers no cost introductory annual memberships. Please help us build our membership to enable us to deliver a full house to Congress and stop further threats to our game. Tell your friends, family, and fellow players to become members of the PPA. We also offer an ability to upgrade your membership from introductory to full membership and beyond. Our new and improved Web site, www.pokerplayersalliance.org, gives you tools and information to help our cause, as well as make it easier for you to donate to the PPA. I hope you will make a contribution at http://www.pokerplayersalliance.org/donatenow.php."
Well, we'll see. I'm not making any more contributions until I see the PPA do something past press releases. As to the "regulation of online poker," I'm still personally convinced that much of this has come about because the traditional bricks-and-mortar U.S. casinos saw billions of dollars flowing right out of their greedy lil hands to Gibraltar and Israel and god-knows-where and started getting their tame Congress-critters on the case. And, once it's impossible for U.S. players to get money in/out of the international betting sites, somehow, miraculously, legislation will be passed that will allow regulated U.S casinos to offer online poker, blackjack, et al. As I tell Peggy, I'm fully expecting not to be able to play online poker by the end of the year, but bet I'll be playing online poker at a Caesars or Harrah's-branded site within the next three years.

1 comment:

Maudie said...

I've had similar sentiments regarding the PPA - you've expressed far more colorfully than could I! :)

Your hunch may be right. I only have funds at Full Tilt right now and won't attempt to deposit anywhere else. I'll play as long as "THEY" will let me!