June 15, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — The controversy surrounding the U.S. government’s action to freeze about $33 million in winnings from some major U.S.-based online poker companies (read about that here) continued to draw attention over the weekend. Many major media sources have reporting on the story, which seems now to have the potential to have a positive effect for the industry. It has already given Barney Frank’s quest to legalize online gaming and overturn the UIGEA a helpful PR boost, both in America and overseas.
As of this weekend, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker remain the only major poker sites affected. Bodog and Cake Poker are taking the opportunity to remind players that their sites are not involved in the money freeze. Meanwhile, Full Tilt has issued a statement reassuring players that their winnings are safe and will be delivered eventually. PokerStars, however, has apparently not issued any such communications. (Read about this at PokerNewsDaily.com .)
U.S. public radio / news service NPR has dedicated some space to the story as well, emphasizing that the actions of the government are operating very much in a “gray area” since online poker is not strictly illegal. The piece calls the UIGEA “toothless,” and also quotes an expert stating that the Wire Act is also not at all a valid basis for this particular enforcement. The consensus seems to be that the action is unsound and will be defeated sooner rather than later. (Read that article here.)
Meanwhile, player and industry advocacy groups PPA and iMEGA remain hard at work lobbying to get the action repealed. If the recent successes in Kentucky and Minnesota are any indication, the effectiveness of these groups is not to be underestimated. (Read more about that here.)
As this story continues to unfold, stay tuned to the CAP News page for breaking info.