PPA responds to PartyGaming founder deal

Alfonse D'Amato once again speaks up to defend poker.

The Poker Players Alliance is speaking up, giving its opinion on the deal Anurag Dikshit, founder and shareholder in PartyGaming, made with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding online gambling.

Dikshit plead guilty to illegal gambling charges under the Wire Act last week as part of an agreement with the DoJ that also included paying a $300 million fine. He is awaiting sentencing, which could lead to up to two years in jail as well.

PartyGaming is the owner of PartyPoker, an online poker room. It also offers casino games on another site, but hasn't offered online sports betting to its customers, which is what the Wire Act is interpreted as covering.

Dikshit's deal raised concerns with the Remote Gambling Association, which has been working to get the European Union to react to the United States' prosecution of European-based, legal online gambling operators.

Now the Poker Players Alliance, a grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members in the United States, has spoken up about its disappointment and concerns with the deal as well.

"The Poker Players Alliance is disappointed to learn of Anurag Dikshit's guilty plea to the Department of Justice under the Wire Act," said Alfonse D'Amato, PPA chairman and former senator.

"To be clear, as a private settlement between two parties, this plea does not change existing law in the United States, nor does it establish any kind of precedent moving forward."

Even so, D'Amato said, the deal further clouds the U.S. regulatory and legal environment as it relates to online poker. Previously the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the highest court to hear such a case, ruled that the Wire Act should only apply to Internet wagers on sporting events or contests.

Additionally, certain types of online wagering, such as horse betting, are allowed under the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, yet considered illegal under the Wire Act, according to the Department of Justice.

"This disagreement among Federal law enforcement and lawmakers results in confusion for the millions of Americans who legally play online poker in this country," D'Amato said.

"We hope legislators in the upcoming Congress will take note of this disparity and pass legislation that affirms poker's legal status and responsibly regulates the online poker industry."

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