PPA issues statement on 60 Minutes story

Alfonse D'Amato gives the shuffle up and deal at the 2007 WSOP Main Event.

Like many poker industry supporters, the Poker Players Alliance is taking the recent 60 Minutes scandal story as yet another indication the online game needs to be legalized and officially regulated.

The 60 Minutes story, which was titled "The Cheaters," aired this Sunday and detailed the well-publicized super-user cheating that occurred on UltimateBet and Absolute Poker between 2004 and 2008.

In the story, CBS reporters delved into the world of online poker and interviewed some of the players who were cheated. They also highlighted the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, which registers and services more than 60% of the world's online gambling operations.

PPA chairman Alfonse D'Amato took the time to emphasize some of the benefits of legalizing online poker.

"The recent cheating scandals underscore the need for U.S. licensing and regulation of online poker to help protect players," he said. "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 and the offenders will be sanctioned."

Alfonse went on to mention that if the government continues to pursue poker prohibition it will just drive the game further and further underground.

"The attempt to enforce an outright prohibition of online poker is deeply flawed and unworkable and it invades upon personal freedoms of law-abiding adults who wish to engage in a game of skill," he said.

"And as the 60 Minutes and the Washington Post stories reported it also exposes American consumers to the rare, unscrupulous bad apple operator who will take advantage of the lack of a U.S. regulated marketplace."

The press release finished with Alfonse encouraging the new Congress to advance some of the regulatory solutions, such as the one introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (H.R. 2046).

Alfonse's statements seem to mirror the general feelings of the poker community. The CBS 60 Minutes message board was buzzing with comments after the story aired on Sunday. The majority of comments were pointed out the main inaccuracy of the story, which was that it deemed online poker illegal in the U.S.

"Online poker is not illegal in the U.S.," posted ButtonDog. "Electronic transfers between financial institution and the poker sites are illegal. In fact what the poker sites and the players want [is] to be regulated and taxed ..."

The PPA is a nonprofit membership organization comprised of over 1 million online and offline poker players and enthusiasts from around the United States; its mandate is to promote the game and protect the rights of poker players.

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