|General Poker News|
No matter which side of the American political fence you find yourself sitting, there is little doubt that Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) is a folk hero to you, even if you have not heard of him before. He is a US Senator who has long been a champion of online poker, seeking its regulation through legislative channels for several years now. I have to give Rep. Frank a lot of credit, because even knowing full well that everything he says now about poker sites and the US Department of Justice’s recent indictments will be scrutinized, he still stood his ground and called out the DOJ’s actions as “an incredible waste of resources.” We are not in the business of saying whether or not he is right, but we can certainly applaud the fact that poker continues to have advocacy at the highest levels of government, and that is a good thing if you are a player now wondering “what’s next?” for online poker.
The fact of the matter is, Rep. Frank really doesn’t have much of a say in what the US Department of Justice does or does not deem worthy of its legal attention. He can question their priorities, but they can still bring indictments against people and open up cases wherever they see fit. If the case is without merit and the charges will not stick, then that will be borne out in the courts, just like any other case. What encourages me about Rep. Frank is that there is a dissenting opinion in Congress, an opinion that sees a game based primarily on skill as a game that can and should have a bright future (even with its gloomy present) for US players who want to play. It would be alarming if the DOJ’s action went unopposed, unnoticed, and/or widely celebrated throughout the ranks of government, but that is simply not happening. Rep. Frank and his colleague John Campbell (R-CA) have introduced new Federal legislation aimed at regulating online poker sites for the US market. The groundswell of support for poker and attention drawn to the community ensures that while the old status quo might be gone, the new status quo (whenever it comes) may very well open the door wide open for legal, regulated, taxed, and openly played online poker.
Frank’s bill would presumably generate a large source of income for a government struggling to make ends meet at the moment. Most estimates are that his bill would allow for several billion dollars in additional revenues, no small sum when it comes to a perpetual deficit like the one facing the United States. Players are enthusiastic about playing in a regulated environment, because it would ensure that an interruption to their hobby (or livelihood) like the one witnessed on April 15th, 2011 would never happen again. Here’s to hoping that regulation comes soon, and until then, continue to support elected officials like Rep. Frank who are championing a cause near and dear to all of us on Capitol Hill.