09 October 2006



    October 9, 2006
    A bill outlawing online gambling is awaiting approval by the president.
    By JP Leider

    “The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 could stop the meteoric rise of online poker.

    The act was tacked onto the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act in late September and passed through Congress shortly thereafter. President George W. Bush is expected to sign the controversial act.” ….

    “Nolan Dalla, media director for the World Series of Poker, who recently resigned his post as Director of Communications for PokerStars.com, estimated that U.S. players drive 70 percent to 80 percent of the overall market. Elimination of that market share could make operations and expansion of the online industry difficult or impossible, he said.

    “This legislation could very well be the 1929 of poker – this could be the crash,” he said. “I foresee this doing enormous damage to the game of poker, the popularity of poker and the future of poker.”

    The main reason, Dalla said, is that online poker sites provide a “training ground” for fledgling players.

    Dalla noted that while free sites and pay sites serve a similar purpose, there is a stark difference.

    “One is the minor leagues, one is Little League softball,” he said.

    “It’s very unfortunate that there are some people that want to legislate morality, they want to come into our living rooms, they want to tell us how to live our lives; they won,” he said. “People that love freedom of the individual lost, and lost big.”

    Language and implications of the act are only partial reasons for its contention among members of Congress – the process by which the bill was passed has widely drawn criticism from Democrats.

    Lack of time for proper review or debate and attachment to seemingly unrelated legislation – that of port security – are the bill’s main criticisms, as well as that of Republican leaders, who purportedly pushed the legislation through a short time before the election period recess.

    Chani Wiggins, deputy chief of staff for Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., said the process is the main issue regarding the act.

    “The biggest concern is whether this is a good bill or not. The way this was passed violates the very principles of democracy,” she said. “You have open debate, you don’t attach unrelated legislation to other bills just because they are going through; that is not a good way to do the people’s business.” “


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