TOPS reveals that websites like Sportsbook Poker are reaping the benefits of weak legislation after the FBI poker shutdown last Friday.
Online PR News – 25-April-2011 – – TOPS.org, also known as the Top Online Poker Sites, has continued to see massive traffic increases to online gaming destinations such as Sportsbook Poker in the wake of the PokerStars shutdown by the US government. Although the Black Friday event that was sparked by the Department of Justice seemed to scare consumers into questioning the legality of online poker within the United States, new indications show that gamblers are finally returning to cyberspace in order to test the proverbial waters.
Overall, the online poker industry is still around sixty percent below normal levels of activity, which shows that consumers are still unsure of what the Federal Government plans to do with the future of online gambling. Some even speculate that the recent poker shutdowns were carried out in anticipation of new US gaming laws being debated in Congress that would allow the government to fully host and regulate the industry for North American players. If that is the government's intention, it has yet to be announced.
Steven Hastings, a company spokesperson for TOPS.org, had this to say about the matter. "Certain Congressmen have been trying to bring online poker to the United States for several years now, starting with the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act. Some may look at that legislation and say, "See, they tried to ban poker in the US," but experts see a quite different picture though. The legislation was intentionally written poorly so online poker remained legal for a move like this; it's all about the tax revenue that comes from a $6 billion dollar a year industry."
Hastings went on to explain that the UIGEA did not actually outlaw online poker like many players may think; the legislation did not really accomplish anything except to say that offshore gaming businesses could not transfer funds to or from banks within this country. This last minute bill was slipped in at the last second to the Safe Port Act of 2006 in a "lame duck," session of Congress, which is a term used to describe when a series of bills are submitted as new officials enter office without the proper time to fully analyze them.
"The UIGEA never would have gone into effect in the first place if it wasn't for some shady, late-night office politics," said Hastings. "In fact, representatives in Congress and the House have been trying to repeal this law since it went into effect in 2006; there have been at least half a dozen proposals so far. The current bill by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is only the latest example."
For now, online poker inside the United States remains in a grey area; it is not quite legal but not expressly prohibited either. Some states have passed their own legislation regarding the matter since the UIGEA was so vague in terminology; it is currently illegal to place online wagers in at least nine of the fifty states while others are looking to completely legalize and host their own poker rooms. How that will affect websites like Sportsbook Poker that service US clients is still unclear at this time.