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  • American Gaming Association Pushes for Legalizing Online Poker

    Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 by Nadia

American Gaming Association (AGA), the biggest casino trading group in the US, is making a move to push for the legalizing of internet poker. Yesterday, it sought the formation of a regulatory framework for online poker rooms. As the group takes steps in this direction, the Justice Department continues to take measures to curb the operations of offshore websites that offer gambling provisions. However, until recently, even the AGA was against online poker being legalized in the country.

The president of AGA clarified the change in attitude towards online poker. He stated that outlawing playing poker online in the US puts players at risk. According to him, presently, there are no reasons to allow this. The AGA has drawn up a code of conduct that can be applied to online poker. The president has requested the Congress to consider the proposal and approve it.

The rules suggested by the AGA pertain to actions that the poker room operators will have to abide by. Some require the state to carry out background checks on the operators and identify the players from the US (this can help filter teen players and those playing illegally). The state will also have to bring into effect, measures to terminate and prevent money laundering activities.

Full Tilt Poker’s Executives Accused

A few hours after the proposal was made, in a motion filed by the Justice Department, Full Tilt Poker’s executives were accused. This included some of the celebrity poker players like Christopher Fergusson and Howard Lederer who are associated with the site. They have been charged with defrauding other players of over $300 million.

According to the US attorney in the Southern District of New York, the poker site was not legitimate. Instead, it was a Ponzi scheme that was run at an international level. These accusations against Full Tilt Poker are a continuation of the Justice Department’s crackdown on the site in April. In addition to this poker site, Absolute Poker and PokerStars were two others which were shut down. The charges laid on the sites were illegal gambling, bank fraud and money laundering.

These sites had continued with their illegal gambling operations even after the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed. According to the act, online poker rooms are banned from operating in the US. The indicted poker rooms had worked their way around the law to provide poker playing platforms to players in the US.

Stringent Measures Risking Players, but Not Having Effect on Stopping Poker Sites

Those in the industry state that despite the Justice Department taking such stringent measures, new sites have come up to take the place of those that have been banned. This has led trading groups like the AGA to support legalizing poker in the country. According to them, legalizing poker will help put an end to similar situations in which players who sign-up with the poker sites, are affected negatively. In the past, Republicans have been against legalizing of poker; however, the House bills supporting it – released this year – have been by two Republicans.

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