In a recent article posted on The Washington Post, Norman Chad shared his own views and consulted the views of his lawyer (so called) friend, on the DOJ indictments on Black Friday. The focus is primarily on the legality of online poker and how online poker relates to the UIGEA, passed in 2006. Chad’s lawyer friend summed it up fairly well:
The UIGEA doesn’t say online poker is illegal. Actually, nowhere within the UIGEA is poker even mentioned; if Congress were so hell-bent against online poker, wouldn’t you think the word “poker” would show up in the UIGEA? Rather, the UIGEA seems to be targeting sports-betting operations.
In fact, there’s no federal law on the books criminalizing poker and there’s never been a federal court ruling that online poker is illegal.
So, frankly, if there were any justice within the Department of Justice, we’d all be sitting in front of our laptops drawing to an inside straight by the end of business today.
In the DOJ indictment from April 15, each person mentioned is charged with “Conspiracy to Violate Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGIEA)” which has a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison; fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss; 3 years supervised release. Yikes.
The unnamed lawyer also goes on to give his personal view about what it means to live in the “land of the free”:
Quite simply, people here in America should be allowed to play whatever game they want with their own money in their own homes. Yet, at the moment, in the land of the free, the government is stopping that freedom.
So true. Yet here we are, 10 weeks after Black Friday and American poker players are left without an option. So far, it seems justice has not been served.