Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Will He Please Stop Talking About This Crap?

Just to be clear, I'm still hypothetically playing the online poker. Still can't win a coin-flip or a single freaking hand when I'm a 80-20 favorite but I am still, hypothetically, playing poker online.

Not to sound grumpy, but I still think that some people are missing the boat on what just happened with the UIGEA legislation. Yes, it primarily concerns itself with the financial side of US players depositing money into online gaming sites. Yes, it does nothing to criminalize the actual act of US citizens playing poker online. That is all very true.

But there's also an entirely separate section that devotes itself to addressing the promotion of online gaming in the US. If you promote online gaming sites (via hyperlinks, banner ads, email, text references or any combination thereof) or refer website visitors to online gaming sites, you can potentially be charged with aiding and abetting and sentenced to up to 5 years in federal prison. This is an entirely different issue than the one above. This has absolutely nothing to do with the legality of you playing poker online, and nothing to do with the legality/illegality of a site like Full Tilt accepting deposits from US players.

Now, again, as I've said many times, the odds of you getting thrown in the federal pokey because you talk about playing poker at Full Tilt are infitesimally small. You're more likely to get struck by a pallasite meteorite. This is not something that 99% of the poker bloggers out there need to worry about. I'm not trying to scare anyone, just pointing out that the UIGEA is multi-faceted, and that one of those facets deals with the promotion of online gambling.

Sorry to yammer on again about this, but I've gotten a ton of emails and comments that basically state the same thing, as far as pointing out that I'm over-reacting, that nothing has changed, that US players can still deposit and play, yada yada yada. For someone who lives in the US and simply plays poker online, yes, they can still do that. If you play poker online and also blog about it, things have slightly changed, as there's the infitesimally small chance that you might be targeted for promoting online gambling. If you play poker online, blog about it, and receive revenues from online gambling sites that are generated by your blog, things have changed a great deal. If you fall into that last category, your level of concern should be directly proportional to how much revenue you generate, ranging from barely concerned at all (if you only make beer money from ads on your blog) to pretty freaking concerned. That's all I'm trying to say.


J said...

... I still think that some people are missing the boat on what just happened with the UIGEA legislation. ... it does nothing to criminalize the actual act of US citizens playing poker online.

But ... If you promote online gaming sites or refer website visitors to online gaming sites, you can potentially be charged with aiding and abetting

I think most people are "missing the boat" because most people don't give a rat's ass about that part of the legislation ... because most people just want to play poker, not scheme ways to make money from other people playing poker.

Personally, I'm rather looking forward to poker related sites that are uncluttered with affiliate banner ads and hyperlinks pimping signup codes.

Should be rather refreshing.


Grinder said...

The thing is that this is nothing new. It has ALWAYS been illegle to do what the current rules are saying.

Anybody that talked to a lawyer 15 years ago (which I did)knows that being an affiliate was actually WORKING for that place.

that is why I have always made sure my place was clean and not cluttered, I'll have a banner up but only 1.

My feeling is that there are bigger fish to fry (look at Bonus Whores LOL).

BUT - at least you are not Wesley Snipes!

Sorry for getting down on you yesterday

Anonymous said...

I appreciate and support your paranoia, because I, like you, tend to err on the side of *not* going to prison. Keep up the good work. ;-)

ScurvyDog said...


No worries and I didn't mean to sound like I was responding to you specifically. I mean, I sort of was, but it was more a response to lots of similar queries and comments I've gotten of late.

As far as the legal landcsape and whether or not it just changed for affiliates, I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. Any number of lawyers will tell you any number of things, so I'm not sure that's the best benchmark for the reality of the situation.

Pre UIGEA, arresting an affiliate would require constructing an argument that they were an employee of an online gambling site that was illegally accepting wagers from US citizens in violation of the Wire Act.

Post UIGEA, an affiliate can be arrested simply for aiding and abetting an online gaming site.

In my eyes, that's a dramatic change that greatly increases the likelihood of US-based affiliates being arrested. The fact that many long-time US-based affiliates are now shutting down their sites and exiting the business (after years in the field) seems to bear out that things have changed of late.

Drizztdj said...

I like my beer money and wish to keep it.

Poker on TV said...

j, I fixed your post: "Ever wonder why all the best poker blogs are from North Korea and Cuba, where they don't allow profit? I'm looking forward reading the same poker blogs as always, but without the ads."

Scurvy, don't worry so much about the legal risk. If they ever go after anyone you won't be the first one, so you'll have plenty of time to change things if you need to.

But if you want, you can protect yourself against the risk. Here's a plan:
1) Get your own domain name for the blog.
2) Use domainsbyproxy so they can't tell who owns the domain without going through some legal stuff, which they can't afford to do for every little site (you could even lease your domain from an overseas friend if you want).
3) Get overseas hosting.
4) Get a copy of WordPress, install it on the web server, and keep on blogging.
So you'll end up with a more professional blog (on its own domain, using better software), it'll only cost a little (could be less than $10/month for hosting, WordPress is free), and it's pretty easy to learn/use all the things I mentioned.

If I can get a good domain I'll be doing all but the overseas hosting soon.

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