Sunday, 16 May 2010
One only has to look at the thread titles in Two Plus Two's "News, Views and Gossip" forum - yup, I'm a genuine bone fide NVGtard - to know that the long-feared UIGEA is upon us.
"Anyone else had their bank account frozen?""Full Tilt Poker not processing payment" It certainly doesn't look good. From Kentucky banning online gambling in the entire state to the FBI investigating Full Tilt Poker, it would certainly seem that online poker has reached a low. US players are crapping their pants, and rightly so. Though online poker isn't actually illegal in the US, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (passed under the 2005 Safe Port Act) means that online poker players in the United States will be unable to deposit and withdraw gambling transactions to banks. Some have already banned them.Now, poker players across the world are lobbying against the act. Why does the rest of the world care about an American problem? Well, you've obviously heard about the days immediately after the 2003 poker boom when Patrik Antonius, Tom Dwan and Viktor Blom built their eight- figure bankrolls: that's what the UIGEA destroyed. Organisations such as the PPA (Poker Players' Alliance) and even some US Senators are lobbying for poker to be recognised as a skill game, meaning that online poker will be exempt from the gambling restrictions and hopefully the golden years of online poker will be renewed.Sounds good, right? Thing is, the restriction on US gamblers divided the poker world into "Euro Sites" and the four major networks: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and UltimateBet. The general consensus is that games on the European sites are much softer - this is because many recreational players in the US believe online poker to be illegal. Also, American pros can't play on many European sites. Add to this the fact that poker isn't taxable here in Britain and we've got a pretty sweet deal.Well, have you ever heard the phrase: "When America sneezes, Britain catches a cold?" Possibly not if you didn't take an A-Level module titled America: Boom and Bust 1918-1939. It's a ditty coined during the 1929 Wall Street Crash that was largely to blame for the UK's Great Depression. If America decides poker is a game of skill, a certain Mr. Cameron may decide that's a good point. It's more taxes, after all... that cuts 22% - 50% of your profit, including rakeback. The first prize at the WSOP could be cut by up to 60% if this happens.Sure, it's a long shot; sure, the benefits of the US laws being overturned definitely outweigh the slim probablity that the grim, taxed dystopia above will come true. It's something to think about though...
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