Al D’Amato Addresses Congress on Online Poker

By Debra SaundersGoogle

Al D’Amato, who served for 18 years as a senator from New York and currently serves as chairman of the Poker Players Alliance, recently addressed a congressional committee on online gambling and government regulation.  Wearing these two hats, D’Amato was the perfect man for the job.

D’Amato began by praising the congressmen for the steps they had taken to protect players from issues of fraud and problem gambling.  However, he quickly changed tones and criticized the congressmen for the legislative action taken that limits the freedom of U.S. citizens to play poker online.

Among his criticisms, he centered on the fact that the current legislation already in place is very unclear.  He specified that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which prohibits banks from performing transactions on behalf of “unlawful internet gambling,” doesn’t bother to define what “unlawful internet gambling” is.

Since D’Amato is himself an avid poker player, his sentiments accurately represent the frustrations of most poker players.  One such issue was the April closing of Full Tilt Poker (in addition to two other large sites) that came as a shock to most American poker players who had been playing online for approximately 10 years.

Another card up D’Amato’s sleeve was the 80,000 e-mails sent by poker players to members of U.S. government asking for proper legislation that creates regulation and licensing for the development of an online poker industry in the United States.

Lastly, D’Amato remarked that if they were to create a regulated industry, it be good in three ways: it would provide a safe playing environment for American citizens, it would create thousands of jobs, and it would create much needed tax revenue for state and federal government at a time of serious economic crisis.

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