Barry Greenstein: Fully Available Online Poker to Return
Online poker is finally seeing some encouraging trends. The reopening of Doyle's Room is one positive step in the direction of reversing the UIGEA and, according to a notable pro, could be a foreshadowing of things to come.
Recently, Barry Greenstein and other professional players, in conjunction with the Poker Players Alliance, made the trip down to Congress to lobby for our right to play online poker and returned with great news. Greenstein, who should have increased visibility within the poker world in the future with his presence on the new "The Poker Road" webcasts, had plenty to share.
On a popular internet forum, Greenstein posted the following:
"I'm sure it will be less than 6 months before Congress realizes that they need to pass legislation contrary to the UIEGA. If it hasn't already happened, it will happen in a few weeks. I don't know how slow the process is and how much debate there will be as to whether there is a different approach that should be taken than the Frank and Wexler bills."
Greenstein expanded on this incredible news on a recent "The Poker Road" show, where he explained what he witnessed during his trip.
"We met with politicians and I can tell people that I am very confident that online poker is going to be back strong, legal; use credit cards, bank accounts, it would really shock me if it wasn't within the next six months."
Greenstein said of the impression they made on Congressmen, "It made them realize that poker players aren't gangsters, that they're pretty well-educated people.
"I would say that we almost had a perfect score. We met with 30-40 Congressmen, and I can only think of one person who didn't say to me afterwards that I am going to vote for the bills that you guys want me to vote for."
One of the main points that Greenstein brought up was the effect that the group had on Congressmen's staffers. He said, "They write things up and advise them on how they should vote. These staffers are all under 30 years old and male, and that population invariably plays online poker… they were on our side, that's strong."
While their impact on staffers was important, Greenstein cited the largest factor for his predicted rapid progress of legalization of online poker as something completely independent of their lobbying. He noted, "The biggest thing that turned the corner for us is the European Union has a case against the United States for up to 100 billion dollars in sanctions because we're denying trade through the WTO agreement. That meant that they knew that we had to do something. Really, all they're looking for is a way to ease it over to their constituency and say, 'We have to do something, it's fiscally responsible to do something.'"
Congressman Barney Frank, who had previously publicly stated his desire to overturn the bill, also met with Greenstein and gave him positive news. "What Barney Frank said is as soon as he knows there are enough votes in the Senate to push this thing through, then he'll put it up for the vote. He just has to count heads and it's on our plate. We talk to enough politicians, get them to agree to vote our way, soon as he sees it's right, it will be put through."
This is a huge step in the battle against the UIGEA and, with the continuing operation of Full Tilt and PokerStars along with the reopening of Doyle's room, could be an indicator that the other sites that left the U.S. market could be coming back soon.