• Gambling Legislation Poses Low Risk To Online Gamblers

    30 October 2006


    Sunday, October 29, 2006

    Peter Dumdeang’s voice rose above the TV patter in a bare-walled East Portland apartment, his insistence interrupting two other men who, like him, appeared hypnotized by their laptops.

    Things were desperate. Down to his last chips Thursday in an Internet poker tourney, Dumdeang needed one of two cards to survive. “C’mon, eight,” he pleaded. “Eight of hearts on the river.”

    The river — the last face-up card in the most popular poker game, Texas hold ‘em — flashed on his screen. Bingo: eight of hearts. High fives erupted, and chips neatly marched into his on-screen stack.

    Fortune delivered on that hand, but Dumdeang and millions of other online gamblers across the nation remain wondering whether their luck is finally running dry. President Bush signed a law Oct. 13 aimed at cutting off the flow of money to online casinos based offshore. The law doesn’t expressly outlaw Internet gambling, but it sets civil and criminal penalties — as long as five years in prison — for transmitting funds between online gambling sites and institutions, such as bank and credit-card companies.

    In Oregon and across the country, poker players continue to play online despite the law, which federal authorities say they are unsure how to enforce. In many cases, players use online third-party financial sites based overseas to move money between U.S. bank accounts and gambling sites.


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