There's no such thing as anOnline Gambling Ban for American players

Online Gambling Ban? There’s no such thing! The bottom line is that Online Poker, which in 49 of 50 States of the USA was legal before Bush signed, is still legal in those states today.

To join poker sites which still accept US players, click here.

There’s a big over-reaction and unnecessary panic out there. We’re here to guide you through the storm.

The poker companies who, in reaction to the Online Gambling Ban fuss, pulled out of the US market, may pay for this rash retreat in the coming years.

Did Bush pass judgement on millions of American sinners when he signed the recent Act? Nope! You're good to go (to Hell, of course).So what's the REAL story? The full name of the law Bush signed is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

The best analysis of this act can be found here. It’s intense reading. In short, you should not worry about playing internet poker, as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act makes NO CHANGES TO US LAW.

What was legal before it was signed is still legal today.

No stormtroopers in jackboots are going to bust down your door and haul your ass off to Guantanamo Bay for playing a few hours of online poker.

To join poker sites which still accept US players, click here.

What about the companies who left the US market?

I am as baffled as everybody else by the sudden response from companies to the Online Gambling 'Ban'. They must have had very poor legal advice, as there seems no basis for their pullout.

There's a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type reaction in the market, with several sites pulling out, while others offer special enticements to the US players left high and dry by their site of choice. (Some have since come BACk to the US market! Ed.)

It is a shame that rational business people have been panicked in this way, to the extent of losing their most lucrative market. Let’s look at the facts of the case and see what your prospects are, if you live in the USA and want to play online poker.

To join poker sites which still accept US players, click here.

Does the Online Gambling Ban mean it’s illegal to play poker online?

No. What the US government is trying to do is prevent poker players from sending and receiving money using online payment systems, such as Neteller (which is based off-shore and has promised to continue business as usual). They are NOT after players, they are targeting the organisations which support the players by moving their money back and forth.

They’re expecting the banks to co-operate with the FBI to prevent transactions to and from gambling sites.

This has already been described as virtually impossible. Imagine asking the USPS to open all the mail, in case somebody is sending cash... It’s about the same scale, only ten times worse because there are ten times as many electronic transactions as there are letters.

There’s absolutely nothing to prevent US players from sending and receiving checks and money orders. Yes, it’s more difficult and time-consuming, so the chances are that the net result of the Online Gambling Ban will be to drive out the casual players.

The very people the American lawmakers claim to be protecting – gambling addicts – will of course find a way to fund their addiction.

To join poker sites which still accept US players, click here.

What has changed since the Act passed?

If you are a shareholder in the Internet Poker companies, you lost the most when they all pulled the US market plug.Surprisingly little, unless you played at the sites which pulled out of the market very early, or had significant money invested in the shares of the companies which decided to withdraw from the US market.

Most of the companies based in the Caribbean continue to accept US players. It’s doubtful whether FBI action could prevent Americans from accessing these poker sites.

The smart money is on the American government finding a way to legalise online gambling and thus claim a huge slice of tax revenue. Today's 'online gambling ban' is just the opening gambit in an attempt to grab tax dollars tomorrow.

To join poker sites which still accept US players, click here.

Will I lose my money if the site I played at has left the US market?

Almost certainly not, if your previous site was a big player with no risk of bankruptcy. Party Poker has paid out all its US players, including their share of promotions like the Monster series of tournaments.

Some of the smaller companies might struggle to pay all their customers, but we’ve not heard of any problems so far.

So, enjoy your game of poker. Still worried about being arrested in your home for playing Texas Holdem? Don’t be. Click here for an article about State law and Internet Gambling.

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