The informational hearing held with the Regulatory Reform Committee of Michigan to discuss online poker was successful yesterday as witnesses provided insight into the industry. Up for discussion were two iPoker bills, SB 890 and SB 889. In SB 889, the state would provide legalization of online poker as well as regulation while the second bill would amend the penal code in the state to allow online gambling legalized by the first bill.
Live updates were provided from the hearing by Steve Ruddock of US Poker, who was on site to listen in as the hearing took place. Among the witness list included John Pappas of the Poker Players Alliance and three Amaya Gaming/PokerStars representatives.
Jeanne David, the head of responsible gaming efforts at PokerStars, discuss the protocols for responsible gaming of the company and demonstrated how players have the option to place limits on game play. Restrictions can be put in place based on stake or loss as well as on a day to day basis or per poker hand.
Director of Operations for Amaya, Steven Winter, talked about how Amaya takes on gaming fraud and is able to detect problem gambling behaviors. Identity technologies as well as geolocation information was covered by Winter to discuss how players are recognized and allowed to take part in game play.
Matthew Robins, the Director Compliance, discussed how PokerStars has money laundering protocols and how the company works alongside other jurisdictions on the subject. This discussion basically detailed how it is much more difficult to launder money over the internet due to the trail of data left behind.
Pappas also spoke and was able to provide his knowledge of the poker industry to committee members. The PPA Executive Director pointed out that S.B. 889 should be considered as a way to protect consumers rather than an expansion of gambling within the state. The activity should be considered a distribution channel for the existing and tightly regulated gaming industry of Michigan.
The hearing ran smoothly and it will be interesting to see just how online poker moves forward within the state in the coming weeks and months.
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