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Pathway to Legal Internet Gambling a Congress Problem

Written By: PokerNet.com | January 10, 2012 | Posted In Poker News

The Justice Department last month released a memo, paving the way for the legalization of online poker and lotteries, but this slow step towards change is set to open up new possibilities and also problems, making it a definite issue for congress to monitor heavily.

There is a current need from Congress to clear the way and to properly clear up issues of the memo on a federal level, helping to further push forward on changes to the 1961 Wire Act. This act, as stated by the Justice Department, is a federal law that bars certain types of wire communication betting and currently only applies to gambling on sporting events.

Problems arising as a result have been the speculation of confusion regarding the legalization of online poker, where it is questioned whether it would integrate successfully or encourage a makeshift array of internet gambling rules specific to each state.

“I think that this ruling creates more confusion than clarity in the Internet gambling debate,” American Gaming Association President and CEO Frank Fahrenkopf stated in  an interview with National Journal.

In 2006, congress passed legislation barring online gambling in the United States, prohibiting the process of payments from online bets by financial institutions, effectively trying to cut of the circulation of money injected into the industry. Despite these efforts, some critics of the law believe that it has not resulted in any changes and that many have still managed to circumvent it and gamble online. The legalization of online gambling is seen by some to consist of a positive change towards gambling and future management of a very profitable industry, but the path to this success is still marred with concern.

“If Congress doesn’t act soon we could end up with fractured rules and regulations that vary state to state, leaving more opportunity for fraud and fewer safeguards for players,” Barton, a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a statement. “I plan to keep moving forward with my efforts to move H.R. 2366 through the committee process, and I am confident it will be passed by the House and Senate – hopefully in this session.”

Barton also stated that whilst the memo from the Justice Department exemplifies that online poker does not violate the Wire Act, the interpretation of the law could result in have misrepresentation of its intention and create a variety of individual state laws that could become a nightmare to understand and manage.

The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade has taken upon itself to hold hearings with relation to Internet gambling, with the prospect of another, in collaboration with the Justice Department to effectively determine a course of action as result of the published memorandum.

[Source: NextGov]

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