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Online Poker Players Looking Forward To Regulated Tables

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Over the past decade, online poker has become one of the biggest forms of entertainment for some players. For others, the virtual world has become a place to make a living feeding off of players who are not as skilled.

The one thing that both the professional and casual poker players have in common is that they are not protected by the US government. The government created the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act back in 2006, and it went into effect this June.

The law places the burden of stopping Internet gambling transactions on financial institutions, but it has been hugely unsuccessful. Lawmakers failed to define illegal games in the UIGEA, and representatives from the financial industry claim there is no way they can block transactions if they do not understand what they are supposed to be blocking.

Online players, meanwhile, have been left to enjoy poker at sites that are either regulated in other countries, or not regulated at all. This has players weary that their funds and personal information is not being protected.

On Wednesday, Representative Barney Frank advanced the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act through the House Finance Committee that he chairs. If the bill becomes law, it would set up the framework for licensing of online poker operators, and that is something many players are looking forward to.

"I have been playing poker at casinos for years, and it would be great to play in front of my computer without having to physically go to the casino," said Dan Brennal. "I hope this law makes it through Congress, because a lot of my friends would start playing online."

Professional players will also be relieved should the laws change in the US. Annie Duke represented poker players when speaking to the House Finance Committee last week in a hearing for Frank's bill. Duke kept referencing how prohibition did not work with alcohol, and it will not work with online poker.

That sentiment is shared by Rep. Frank who in today's markup hearing, stopped Rep. Spencer Bacchus when Bacchus questioned Frank's intent on proposing this law. Frank asserted that his only motive was allowing US adults the right to choose whether or not they would like to play online poker.

The legislation still has to pass through the full House and the Senate to become law, but today was a first step, and one that poker players were tracking all across the country.

"I was so excited about possible online poker regulations, that I watched the entire meeting today. It was the first time I ever watched a Congressional meeting," said Paula Oliva. "Hopefully, I will soon have the right to play poker online without the fear that I am doing something illegal."

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