As we go to press, it was five years ago on June 1, 2010, that the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act went into effect, taking almost four years to come to pass, which was a testament to the doggedness of the Poker Players Alliance, a grassroots poker advocacy group that has been at the forefront of protecting and expanding the rights of poker players.
The PPA, sympathetic lawmakers and exasperated bank officials held off enforcement as long they could and have been working since to repeal the law and push for legislation that regulates, not restricts, our desire to play online poker.
So it’s five years later, and are we any closer to federal regulation? The dark days of Black Friday are long behind us. We have a handful of states (Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada) that have regulated online poker within their borders and there are other states trying to follow suit (we see you California), but doesn’t everyone in America deserve an opportunity to play poker in their pajamas? We shouldn’t fear regulation; we should welcome it for the safety it provides.
It’s a card game, a game played by presidents and kings, and online rooms allow us to play the widest variety of games at the widest variety of limits, all from the comfort of our homes. Online poker can enhance and help populate brick-and-mortar poker rooms, too, as evidenced by the remarkable turnout at this year’s World Series of Poker, which happens to enjoy online satellite feeders in its own state. We should work to make sure the best of these sites are free to offer their games and promotions to all Americans, not just those in particular states.
Major elections are just around the corner and it’s never too early to reach out to your local and state officials to tell them how you feel. If we can, let’s all come together to fight for our favorite game. Contact the PPA (theppa.org) to see how you can help.
We’ll be happy when we can see you at the online tables.
— Christopher Cosenza and Scott Long