Online Poker Cheating Segment On CBS Opens Eyes To US Legalization

For the online poker community, the potent segment on CBS news giant ’60 Minutes’ concerning the Absolute Poker and UltimateBet cheating scandals was mostly old news, but to the rest of the United States who watched the broadcast, it opened a lot of eyes to what’s been going on in US legislation.

Online poker players, including many Americans, were essentially ripped off to the tune of about $20 million dollars. It was not the managers of the online poker sites, or the software auditors, who discovered the vast scale of cheating; but rather the online poker players themselves who finally caught on.

The general consensus coming from many Americans, not just online poker players, is this; were the US to legalize and regulate the online poker industry, situations like the Absolute Poker/UltimateBet cheating scandal would not occur, or at least would have been uncovered in a more timely fashion. Certainly before $20 million in poker chips had been schemed from thousands of unsuspecting players.

The US government has an opportunity to protect its citizens by regulating the online gambling industry in the United States. Instead, they are currently turning in the opposite direction. The UIGEA may tell us that online poker is illegal in the US, but regardless, thousands upon thousands continue to play poker over the Internet. If prohibition isn’t working (has we learned anything from the past), the only proper solution is to legalize and regulate, for the protection of the people.

“The existing government prohibition on Internet gambling is a failure and a mistake,” says Jeffrey Sandman of the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative. “The millions of Americans who continue to gamble online are vulnerable to being defrauded by offshore operators who exploit U.S. prohibition policies, leaving U.S. consumers without legal protections when they make a bet or play poker online.”

Alfonso D’Amato of the Poker Players Alliance said, “The federal government cannot continue to abdicate this basic responsibility to the millions of its citizens who choose to play poker on the Internet. Like it or not, the phenomenon cannot be wished away. The American market has spoken.”

Legalizing online gambling in the US would have substantial benefits for the country as well, in the form of taxation. According to estimates from PricewaterhouseCooper, an independent auditor of online gaming operators, the Us would generate anywhere from $9-$40 billion in tax dollars annually.

There’s no clear resolution in site for the future of the online poker industry in the United States, but John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, strongly believes that “whether it’s next year or five years from now… it’s going to happen very soon.”

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