The Fossilman, Greg Raymer, recently appeared on Fox Business News on behalf of the Poker Players Alliance to talk about the state of online poker and the UIGEA. During the approximately 5 minute interview, he stated that in his opinion, there’s nothing in the UIGEA that should even affect online poker. He says he believes this to be the case because the UIGEA makes it illegal for companies to become involved in any financial transaction with an illegal gambling website or company. Since there is nothing in federal law that makes online poker illegal, a transaction with an Internet poker site should not fall under the jurisdiction of the UIGEA.
He spoke about the recent and future efforts of Barney Frank to repeal the UIGEA and establish regulations and taxation of Internet poker. He mentioned the estimated billions of dollars that could be generated. Some other experts estimate up to $52 billion in the first 10 years.
He also got in what seemed to be a little shot at some of the members of Congress who are opposed to all forms of Internet gambling and their regulation. He states, “What Barney Frank and other, you know, right thinking members of Congress, and I don’t mean right versus left, I just mean intelligent thinking members of Congress, they want to get some legislation passed that sets up a structure to license and regulate the online poker rooms within the U.S. These companies are probably all going to come to the U.S. when that legislation exists. Plus they’re going to get new companies formed, probably from the major casinos, the land based casinos. These companies are then going to be in the U.S. paying American taxes and that’s billions of dollars a year in tax revenue.”
He was then asked about “sin taxes” and comparing a tax on Internet poker to taxes on alcohol and tobacco. Raymer quickly tried to distance online poker from being just another way generate a “sin tax” by making it clear that the regulation of online poker would be as much for the safety of the consumer as for the ability to raise more tax money. He, and the PPA, believe that no one is looking out for the American customer right now. Americans are playing poker online at rates that are climbing each month. That isn’t even really the issue. The issue is that players are at the mercy of the websites that run the games and the online poker regulators, who have made questionable judgments or rulings on some of the controversies surrounding online poker.
Barney Frank is supposed to introduce his legislation sometime this month. There is still a lot of optimism throughout the poker world that the United States will loosen their stand against online poker sooner rather than later. Even former poker giant, Party Poker, is optimistic. During their recent quarterly report, they made the statement that they believe that the U.S. market will reopen to online poker in the near future.