Brace yourselves, poker world. The June 1 compliance date for the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act is fast approaching and it doesn't appear a Poker Players Alliance petition is going to be able to knock it off course this time.
The PPA petition asking Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to clarify the regulations to exempt peer-to-peer games, such as poker, depended on a very unlikely source — Internet gambling's mortal enemy, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).
PPA chairman Alfonse D'Amato recently met with Kyl, an old Republican colleague in the Senate, according to PPA executive director John Pappas. The PPA had hoped Kyl would see reason in the argument that the growing poker lobby has proven strong enough to eventually overturn the UIGEA. However, if poker were removed from the equation through the granting of this petition, perhaps Kyl's pet law could live a long life affecting casino games and sports betting.
Kyl wouldn't make the compromise. He wants it all.
"It does not seem Sen. Kyl is willing to accept even an exemption for peer-to-peer in it," Pappas said. "He wants to see the law finalized."
Pappas told PokerNews in March, when it first became apparent that the UIGEA regulations were not going to get another delay like the six-month extension the PPA petitioned the Treasury and Federal Reserve Board for last year, that he didn't think a clarification to exempt poker from the law would happen unless it was something to which Kyl agreed.
Without Kyl's approval, the PPA is preparing for the likelihood that the law, which prohibits financial institutions from processing outgoing transactions to "unlawful" Internet gambling sites, will be fully enforced beginning June 1.
"Honestly, I think the silver lining here is, come June 1 when the law is finalized, those who would say the UIGEA is going to stop Internet gaming will be proven wrong," Pappas said. "I think that adds more credence to our argument that alternatives have failed and now is the time to do what is right to license and regulate the industry."
Pappas stresses that the PPA petition being granted is not impossible and he's not giving up hope. The PPA recently scored a letter from Republican congressmen supporting the petition to go along with the letter from 22 Democratic supporters.
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