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Poker Stars Lobby on Behalf of Online Casinos

The online casinos industry is a $12 billion dollar a year venture, but has nevertheless, despite its great profitability, been met with regulatory and legal problems all across the globe in recent times. Online casinos face big detractors in the United States, as the US Congress has aimed to ban credit card companies from operating with online casinos. Online casinos have also been the subject of regulatory measures in Asia, and recently in Italy, as many British online casinos are aiming to test this new Italian ruling.

Online casinos in Antigua and Barbuda are also pressing the United States to comply with a recent World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling on the legality of online casinos. Nevertheless, despite these negative aspects, there are some positive backers of online casinos, including the recent World Series of Poker champion, a player who began his career at online casinos, Greg Raymer.

Raymer got his start at online casinos and eventually won the 2004 World Series of Poker, winning a then record $5 million dollar purse.

Raymer and two of his professional gambling colleagues, Howard Lederer, dubbed “the Proffesor,” and knonwn to many online casinos players as well as TV viewers, and Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, another poker star, made for an unusual lobbying trio as they appeared before the US Congress and aimed to voice their opinions in the recent political debate regarding online casinos.

The trio were in Washington to oppose the bill that would ban the use of credit cards to play at online casinos. It is illegal to run online casinos in the United States even though many other countries, including Great Britain, allow it. And Americans, despite these rules, have easy access to online casino sites.

The bill’s sponsor did not agree with Raymer and his gambling buddies. Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.), said, “Online gambling doesn't just hurt gamblers and their families, it hurts the economy by draining dollars from the U.S.” He continued, “Our children have been placed in harm's way as online gambling has been permitted to flourish.”
Raymer, though said, "Why should this be prohibited just because it's on the Internet, when it is not prohibited otherwise. The poker star also added that it should be the job of parents, not the government, to educate their children about the dangers of gambling addictions, and to monitor the industry from within.
Adding to the debate, Radley Balko, a policy analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute, said a credit card ban would have little effect. "First of all, it can't be stopped," Balko said. Balko also said that gamblers online could find easy access to get around these credit card requirements, anyways.
After he appeared in front of the Government, Raymer was asked to compare lobbying with poker, and he said there's no bluffing when it comes to fighting legislation. And because another bill can come along at anytime: "I don't think there is going to be an 'all-in' position,” he said.


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