New Online Poker Legislation Petition

Fair Play USAOnline poker players in the USA have a new voice that aims to support their need for the “unacceptable” status quo that exists right now in the country to be altered, thus providing “Americans who want to play poker online” with a “strictly regulated, safe industry”.

FairPlayUSA is a recently-formed coalition that came into existence following the confusion surrounding what the future is likely to hold for US poker after the shocking events of April 15, when the Department of Justice (DoJ) shut down several poker websites, including PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.

PokerStars – the world’s largest online poker room – have refunded customers’ accounts to the tune of more than $100 million, but Full Tilt and Absolute Poker have so far failed to follow suit.

‘Black Friday’ was certainly a wake-up call to many American poker players, but the problem now is that there seems to be no definite path being followed by the US government to bring in laws that will support the rights of those wishing to play the game online.

But FairPlayUSA – which is based in Washington, DC – hopes to “educate policymakers and the public on the broad public policy interests raised by the current ambiguous laws in the US that have led to millions of Americans gambling on the Internet”.

The organisation’s board includes three advisors in American pro poker player Greg ‘Fossilman’ Raymer – the 2004 World Series of Poker (WSOP) main event winner – as well as Tom Ridge, the former governor of Pennsylvania and original United States Secretary of Homeland Security, and Internet safety specialist Parry Aftab.

As a group, they have put together a petition that targets the development of laws that will be clear and concise in relation to online gambling.

Marisa McNee, executive director with FairPlayUSA , said that the organisation’s “website and online petition will be the focal point for recruiting and organising supporters who will actively engage and make their voices heard by members of Congress”.

Additionally, McNee said that FairPlayUSA will look to encourage “law enforcement officials, those who support Internet consumer safety, and online poker’s strongest asset – the millions of Americans who enjoy online poker” – to sign the petition that aims to push forward any future laws relating to online poker.

The organisation hopes Congress will immediately tackle the online gambling issue by passing federal laws that will allow Americans to play the game they love on the Internet.

FairPlayUSA’s website issues a call to arms on their home page that states: TELL CONGRESS IT’S TIME FOR FAIR PLAY. The status quo is unacceptable. Americans who want to play poker online deserve a strictly regulated, safe industry here in the United States. Parents must be assured their children cannot gamble online. American consumers must be protected.

“Existing federal laws regarding online gambling are not working, and US law enforcement does not have the most effective tools necessary to shut down operators who are engaging in illegal activities.

“In essence, we have a ‘wild west’ atmosphere with no US regulation – nothing to prevent minors from gambling and no consumer protections.

“It’s time for Congress to address the problems associated with offshore Internet gambling and give law enforcement the tools to crack down on illegal sites that offer all forms of gambling. And it’s time for Congress to ensure the integrity and safety of online poker.”

Strong words, I’m sure you’ll agree. But they have managed to capture the feelings of countless Americans on this troubling issue.

So, if you fancy signing the petition, pop on over to FairPlayUSA.com.