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ONLINE POKER SITES ON US LEGISLATION



Statements From Online Poker Sites Regarding US Legislation
October 03, 2006  
© 2006 Randy Saylor  

The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006, which was passed in amendment form by the US Congress on October 2, has generated a lot of buzz. Much analysis is being done at this point, and it is generally too early to tell much. I will share more information after more careful study of the text of the legislation. In the meantime, here is some feedback from some of the major players in online poker.

From Lee Jones, Poker Stars:

“However, there are three important things that we can tell you right now:

1. Your money is completely safe at Poker Stars. It's kept in a segregated account at one of the largest banks in Europe.

2. You do, and will, have 24/7 access to your account funds. You will always be able to get to your money.

3. We have not made a decision one way or another as regards closing our American accounts.”

From Party Gaming:
“After taking extensive legal advice, the Board of PartyGaming Plc has concluded that the new legislation, if signed into law, will make it practically impossible to provide US residents with access to its real money poker and other real money gaming sites. As a result of this development, the Board of PartyGaming has determined that if the President signs the Act into law, the Company will suspend all real money gaming business with US residents, and such suspension will continue indefinitely, subject to clarification of the interpretation and enforcement of US law and the impact on financial institutions of this and other related legislation. Access to PartyGaming's online gaming sites for the Group's US free play customers will be unaffected. Access for all of PartyGaming’s non-US customers will also be unaffected.”

TruePoker:
Summary:

TruePoker does NOT make or accept bets or wagers in which it has any stake in the outcome. So, our games and tournaments, and your deposits, are not covered by this UIGE Act of 2006.

TruePoker does not have a stake in the outcome of the games or tournaments we offer, in the US or anywhere else. (We do not offer casino games or sports betting, and so have no stake in the outcome and are not in the "business of betting or wagering")

Business Decisions:

Certain sites, such as Party and Pacific, have decided to abandon the US poker market as a business decision. We view our commitment to our customers a bit differently. The Act does not outlaw playing poker on the Internet from the US, period. We certainly will accept deposits and new accounts as long as we can do so. We see NO reason to cut off play in any event under this Act.

As you do, we await developments in the payments processing industry, but it is business as usual for Truepoker's poker operations.

World Sports Exchange:

We have absolutely no plans whatsoever of dropping any players. In short, it will be business as usual. WSEX.com and all its sister companies are legal and licensed businesses regulated by the Gaming Commission of Antigua and Barbuda. We are wholly located in Antigua and do no business or run any part of our operation on US soil.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has recognized the right of Antiguan companies to be in this business and has instructed the United States to stop trying to block US residents from playing at Antiguan operations.

Nothing in the bill criminalizes placing a bet or sending money to or receiving money from an offshore gambling business.

We strongly suggest that our players/bettors get set up with alternative payment systems (such as Neteller and First Pay).

Thanks for your enquiry xxxx. WSEX is here to stay.

Bodog:

You should take comfort in knowing that Bodog.com is well situated to adapt to any change in the legislative environment. Bodog.com considers online gambling to be legal under international law and complies with the laws within all of its jurisdictions where it carries out its operations.

We would encourage you to consult a legal expert to ensure that you are properly informed about local, state and federal laws with respect to online gambling.

You may care to know that Bodog.com has been in business for more than 10 years and was the first online gambling operation licensed in Costa Rica. Bodog.com is now also licensed in Kahnawake and by the government of the United Kingdom.

UltimateBet:

We first want to assure you that UltimateBet’s games are still available and that you can continue to enjoy the site as you always have. UltimateBet has offered its poker room since 2001, and is not located in the United States. UltimateBet is not going away as a result of this legislation.

Here at UltimateBet.com the management of player funds is held to the highest standard of a public company. 100% of player funds are deposited in a segregated account, at a top tier bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland in the United Kingdom. You can be assured that your funds are completely safe and secure and that you are welcome to play with or withdraw your funds at anytime as usual.

The new law does not change the legality of playing online games. The law does not impact people who play games from their computers. Instead, the law focuses on the payment processing of unlawful Internet gaming.

Our strong belief is that poker is a game of skill and therefore is not encompassed by this law. As set forth in the user agreement, we furnish a gaming environment, and participants are eligible to access this environment for their enjoyment where legal to do so. We do not undertake to assess the legality of play in any particular case as our users may access us from around the world.

Poker.com:

As far as we are concerned our operations are 100% legal under international law and we follow all laws of the jurisdictions in which our operations reside. There will still be plenty of places to play poker and the industry will adapt, evolve and survive.

Absolute Poker:

We want to assure you that Absolute Poker games are still available and that you can continue to enjoy the site as you always have. The new law does not change the legality of playing online games nor will make us close any US customer accounts. The law does not impact people who play games from their computers. Instead, the law focuses on the payment processing of unlawful Internet gaming and we can assure you that our operations are 100% legal.

Full Tilt Poker:

In the short term, we assure you that your online experience at Full Tilt Poker will not change. You will still be able to deposit and withdraw money from the site using the same methods and payment processors you have always used, and your money will remain completely safe and secure. We cannot predict how the online poker experience may change in the future, but we do not expect any immediate impact from the legislation, as the banking industry has 270 days to implement new rules after the bill is signed.

 

It is also important to note that, once signed, the new legislation will not criminalize individuals for playing poker online. Instead, the bill will eventually attempt to prevent the transfer of funds to online gaming. As poker is a game of skill rather than pure chance, we hope that it will not be affected by this new bill. Speculation aside, however, we will continue to work closely with organizations like the Poker Player's Alliance to lobby for an exemption for online poker and for your right to play a truly American game from the privacy of your own home and computer.


Neteller:

On Friday 29 September 2006, the US Congress passed legislation which includes certain provisions to prohibit unlawful internet gambling through the restriction of payments to such sites.

The Bill states that there will be a period of up to 9 months for the US regulators to prescribe regulations requiring each designated payment system and all participants therein to identify and block or otherwise prevent or prohibit restricted transactions.

It is currently unclear how NETELLER, a European company, with no assets, presence or employees in the US, would be affected by this bill. Once the regulations have been written, NETELLER will have a clearer view of which companies are affected, how those companies will be expected to comply, and any possible resulting impact on NETELLER and its US facing business.

NETELLER continues to operate its business as normal.

Over 3 million customers in 160 countries trust NETELLER to transfer over $7 billion each year. The company is authorized in the UK by the Financial Services Authority and listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange. To protect its customers’ money, all deposited, in-transit, and un-cleared funds are held in Trust Accounts.


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