The US federal government has launched We the People, a way for US citizens to communicate directly with the government about burning issues.
The online poker community took advantage of this facility and signed an online petition regarding the regulation and legalization of the US online poker industry, and the White House published its response to this petition recently.
Thanking the US online poker gaming community for participating in We the People, the US government said that it understands US poker players’ eagerness to support the regulation and legalization of online poker.
In this response, which bears the title “What We Have to Say about Online Poker,” National Economic Council Deputy Director Brian Deese talks about the government’s take on online poker in the US.
The response states that Barack Obama’s administration understands that many US players play poker for real money at offshore online poker sites although placing bets online on sports events and competitions is a violation of US federal law. Individual state governments are free to decide whether or not to legalize other types of online gambling, and US players can gamble if the law of their states approves it. However, if they gamble in violation of their state laws, they will be violating federal laws too.
Expressing its concerns that the Internet’s anonymous nature makes a distinction between onsite games and online games and creates several problems, the government stated that people living in countries where online gaming is illegal and even underage players can use methods to sign up at offshore online gaming sites and play for real money. According to the US government, the potential for fraud is greater in online gaming because anybody,
even those with limited financial resources, can launch online gaming sites, accept bets, and disappear after a few months. In its response, the government also expressed its fear that online gaming sites can be used for money laundering because of the quick, anonymous, and global nature of the World Wide Web.
The US government assured the petitioners that it will examine all these issues and remain open to solutions that can protect users of online gaming sites from ending up as victims of unscrupulous operators. In brief, the US government, in its response, expresses its openness to regulate and legalize online poker, but does not support any poker bill.
The US administration responds only to those petitions that get a certain level of public support.