Rep. Pete Sessions Still Good for PokerTM, His UIGEA Bill Not So Much

This one is complicated so we’ll do our best to break it down.

Pete_sessions_uigeaRepresentative Pete Sessions (R-Tex) recently introduced a bill intending to clarify the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. In the bill, Sessions attempts to single out sports gambling as the sole focus of the UIGEA, creating a potential carve-out scenario for online poker. However, in doing so, Sessions suggests in his bill that online poker is considered an illegal activity under existing law, stating:

"Federal Internet gambling prosecutions
have involved sports betting, creating a lack of authoritative court decisions on the applicability of other federal criminal statutes to Internet poker and casino-style gambling."

Full text of bill here

This despite the fact that neither the UIGEA nor any other legislation has made reference to online poker before. The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) is obviously disappointed with the bill and has come out with a strong statement against it saying:

"We are…puzzled by the introduction of H.R. 6663 and by the purpose of
this legislation…Previous federal case law (re: Mastercard 2002) made it clear that existing federal criminal law (WIRE Act of 1961) applies only to sports wagering, and not to internet poker. Further, the UIGEA
itself states, ‘No provision of this law shall be construed as altering, limiting or extending any Federal or State law.’ Thus, H.R. 6663 only confuses a clear judicial standing on this matter."

Full statement here.

While ripping his proposed legislation, the PPA does stress that "Congressman Pete Sessions has been and continues to be a good friend to poker players who want the freedom to play America’s greatest card game." Sessions has been a long time critic of the UIGEA and supporter of poker, and according to PPA board member Rich Muny, he still maintains an A+ grade as a friend of online poker.

Also considering Sessions a friend of online poker are a host of notable poker players who have donated thousands to his Political Action Committee "PETE." They include Andy Beal, Doyle Brunson, Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Linda Johnson, Barry Shulman, Andy Bloch and the PPA’s John Pappas. See for yourself/read more about his donors here andhere.

Even more interesting, Sessions is currently getting flack for holding a fundraiser at the Forty-Duece burlesque club in Las Vegas. So the dude knows how to party, probably likes to gamble, and definitely likes him some boobs. Read more about that here.

We’ll see how this shakes out. Most seem to think that not much will amount from this bill, and we tend to
agree. Seems like we won’t see much action until after the Presidential
election/The November 9TM/60 Minutes hatchet job.
Hopefully those Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet/CEREUS scumbags can keep
from fucking up and giving Congress another reason to specifically lump
online poker in with sports wagering.   

Got something to say about the above? Start a thread and discuss over at the Wicked Chops Poker forum. All the cool kids are there, or at least the ones looking for a free Wicked Chops t-shirt.


4 Responses

  1. Markus

    August 6, 2008 10:54 am, Reply

    I think overall it’s good, at least someone is doing something to clarify all the confusion out there. While I don’t think online poker is illegal in the US (except for Washington), a nice clarification from the US govt. would be nice.

  2. CheffyChef

    August 6, 2008 3:24 pm, Reply

    Jumpin’ Jeebus, that isn’t good. That sounds like they’re narrowing it down to put online poker on the shit list with an explicit ruling.
    Someone that ‘friendly’ to poker wouldn’t do something like this unless they were under the influence of the casino’s.

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