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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

February 15, 2004

Online Poker: Will I Be Arrested?

by Luckbox

We all know that thanks to The Travel Channel, ESPN, Fox Sports Net, and the legend of Chris Moneymaker... online poker is bigger than it's ever been.

We're talking $16 billion last year alone. That's a lot of money, and when Americans are spending a lot of money on something, and the government isn't getting a cut, that usually means Big Brother will try to get his cut, or stop you from playing. And since he's not likely to get a cut... will the men in blue be knocking on your ISP?

According to a great article in the Houston Chronicle, it's not likely.

I. Nelson Rose, a gaming-law expert and professor at Whittier Law School in California, says the Department of Justice contends that the 1960s Wire Act, which prohibits using a wire-connection facility to place a bet across state lines, covers all betting. But a recent court decision says the law applies only to sports betting and races, such as dog racing.

Rose maintains a website called Gambling and the Law. He says in the article, "The short answer is that there is no federal law that would apply to a mere bettor."

Does that mean there will never be a law? Not necessarily, but with the world-wide nature of the World Wide Web, we all know it's virtually impossible to go after the web sites themselves since they're based off shore. And what is the benefit of going after the individual when it's a victim-less crime?

If you want to know where you may cross the line, it's the home games. And for most of us, that's never an issue. But if you start taking a rake of the pot, or start charging some kind of hosting fee, someone might stop by to ask you a few questions.

| Online Poker