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White House Slow Plays Online Poker Petition

A petition urging the Obama administration to regulate Internet poker that was submitted nearly eight months ago by the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) finally received a response from a special assistant to the president, but said little regarding legalizing online poker at the federal level.

Almost 10,000 poker enthusiasts signed the petition in September 2011, and if the length of time waited to receive a response is any indication of the possible wait for a federal framework of online poker regulations, then we may as well resign ourselves to accepting a hodgepodge of state laws that seems to be the course of action encouraged by the petition’s response.

In a short four-paragraph response that was sent to all who signed the petition, Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, said that “online gambling is dependent upon the law of the states where the bettor or gambling business is located” and that states should decide for themselves if accepting online wagers will be legal within state boundaries.

With regards to federal online poker regulations, the response promised nothing, saying only that the current administration “will continue to examine this issue” and is seemingly more concerned with sites that may be operating illegally, as opposed to actually putting forth laws to regulate online poker.

The petition response, although lacking in substance that many players were hoping for, was sugar-coated by PPA executive director John Pappas, who found it to be “promising in the respect that each of the issues raised by the White House can be and will be addressed by U.S. regulation of the industry.”

The PPA and many players are still holding out hope that federal online poker regulations may someday be forthcoming. However, it is looking increasingly as though a state-by-state framework led by Nevada will be the way online poker is legalized in the U.S. Nevada gaming officials have recently indicated that poker sites in the Silver State could be up and running in 7-10 months, which would most likely mean early 2013.



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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.