D'Amato talks about online poker scandals

Justice scales

Former senator Alfonse D'Amato, Poker Players Alliance chairman, issued a statement today in response to the online poker cheating scandals that have surfaced about Absolute Poker and UltimateBet.

"The Poker Players Alliance is the political and public policy voice for poker players in America. Central to our mission are advocacy efforts in Washington D.C. and around the country to protect poker players from misguided and vague laws and to establish licensed and regulated Internet poker in the U.S.," D'Amato said.

He points out that the PPA isn't a regulator body for poker players or the poker industry, but the organization feels compelled to speak out when its mission is potentially undermined by actions which present Internet poker in a negative light.

"Trust is paramount in poker. Sadly, this foundation has been undercut by admissions from two well-known online poker companies, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet, that cheating has occurred on their poker sites," D'Amato said.

"The Poker Players Alliance condemns any and all cheating in poker no matter the forum in which it is played. Because of the current legal uncertainties and the lack of federal regulation and oversight, it is especially troubling when cheating occurs in online poker."

According to D'Amato, the regulatory situation has resulted in an atmosphere where it's difficult for a proper investigation into the allegations to be conducted. That being the case, the PPA is urging the online gambling companies involved and their regulating authority, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, to provide a full accounting of the breaches of public trust to help dispel the negative light cast on the industry.

The KGC had investigated reports of a security breach on both the UltimateBet and Absolute Poker sites. It was found at both sites that a breach in security had resulted in certain accounts having an unfair advantage at the poker tables.

"The recent cheating scandals underscore the need for U.S. licensing and regulation of online poker to help protect consumers. While even the most highly regulated industries are susceptible to fraud and abuse, regulation does provide assurances that when consumers are harmed they have recourse," D'Amato said.

"Further, it is abundantly clear that regulation will also address other consumer concerns by successfully providing ways to bar access by children to gambling Web sites and providing the necessary services for problem gamblers."

D'Amato went on to say that the federal government cannot continue to abdicate this basic responsibility to the millions of U.S. citizens who choose to play poker online. The ban currently in place is ineffective and also invades on the personal freedoms of law-abiding adults who want to engage in a game of skill.

"Remaining consistent with our organization's mission, we will continue our efforts on Capitol Hill to ensure lawmakers are well educated about the benefits of regulation to protect consumers and enable the rights of poker playing adults," D'Amato said.

"These scandals will not and should not be the demise of a responsible government approach to Internet poker. Instead, this can be the pathway to understanding that regulation is the key to protecting citizens and the future of America's card game."

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