Brian Deese

The Obama administration officially responded to petition supporting the legalization and regulation of online poker. But anyone who was looking for fireworks should prepare for disappointment.

In a formal response to a petition filed eight month ago by the Poker Players Alliance, Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council offered little in the way of new information. His four paragraph statement mainly reiterated points that are well known by all parties involved in this issue. They included:

  • The fact that many people enjoy online poker, “for entertainment.”
  • That online gambling sites are easy to set up, and sometimes engage in fraud.
  • Deese reminds readers that Internet gambling is different than live gambling.
  • And, in case anyone reading had just moved to the United States from the 1980′s he helpfully points out that, “Online gambling on sporting events or contests violates federal law.”

But Deese’s response wasn’t all fluff.

Which state is going to have intrastate online poker first? Check out Online Poker in the US: States to Watch.

Pass it Off to the States

In its most substantial sentences, Deese’s statement makes it clear that the White House is content to leave this issue in the hands of the states. If you’re not familiar with American history, the legal authority of the states to create laws that don’t necessarily conform with Federal law,  known as States’ Rights, is a serious matter.

So when Deese says, “The legality of other forms of online gambling is dependent upon the law of the states where the bettor or gambling business is located,” that’s pretty much the heart and soul of his statement.

In short, don’t expect Federal legislation on this matter anytime in the near future.

Industry Underwhelmed

Many folks who signed the petition had raised expectations because the Administration had taken so long to respond. Every other petition that had been filed using the We the People feature on the White House website had already received a response. No reason was given as to why the response took so long.

What do you think of the Obama administration’s handling of the poker petition? Share your opinion on our Online Gambling Laws and Regulations Forum.


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