Monthly Archives: January 2014

Merge Gaming Suspends Online Poker Accounts In New Jersey And Delaware For Security Reasons

Merge Gaming Suspends Online Poker Accounts In New Jersey And Delaware For Security ReasonsA few days before we covered a story titled will online poker be banned or allowed in the United States of America? The article covered the contemporary online gaming and gambling environment prevalent in U.S. Some states in U.S. have already allowed online gaming and others may also be contemplating doing the same. A good start for internet and online gambling in New Jersey has already been reported.

However, online gaming enthusiastics in U.S. are also facing technical and legal difficulties. According to Poker News Report, this weekend, hundreds of online poker players in New Jersey and Delaware tried to log in to play poker on their Merge Gaming skin (Carbon Poker, BetUSA, Sportsbook etc.) and discovered that their accounts had been suspended for “security reasons”.

After several players had contacted their site’s customer support, it became clear that the accounts were being suspended “as per restrictions set in your state” with no prior warning and with no procedures in place to facilitate the withdrawal of players´ bankrolls.

This is a scary situation that has been created due to inadequate and improper online gaming and gambling laws in various states across the U.S. For instance, if players have deposited cash or its equivalent like Bitcoins at an online poker website or a platform like Merge Gaming and the site/platform suspends or deletes any account, there is no mechanism to get the refund in such a situation. It seems the online poker players have to read in between the lines and fine prints of terms and conditions of various websites/platforms to approach only those online poker websites that are fair and legal risk free in their dealings.

It is claimed that Merge Gaming is complying with the legislation that was introduced to regulate online poker in New Jersey and Delaware, which explicitly prohibits the operation of an unregulated online gambling site. Recently, ISPs in United Kingdom refused to display warning pages for unregulated online gambling websites. However, stakeholders in U.S. seem to be more compliant in this regard.

On the other hand, the Indian online gaming industry is maturing and it is even legal to play online poker in India if proper laws and regulations have been complied with. Even Cubeia is exploring Indian online gaming market with additional payment options. For instance, Cubeia would support Bitcoins for its business to business poker network and it may explore this possibility in India as well.

A new trend in the field of online gaming and gambling industry is to accept Bitcoins as an addition payment mechanism. However, the legality of Bitcoins is still not clear in many jurisdictions.  Even the Bitcoin exchanges and Bitcoins websites operating in India must comply with Indian laws to be legal. International online gaming enthusiastics and entrepreneurs must explore Indian markets for their legal playing pleasures and ventures.

ISPs In UK Refuse Insertion Of Warning Pages For Unlicensed Gambling Sites

ISPs In UK Refuse Insertion Of Warning Pages For Unlicensed Gambling SitesOnline gambling legal environment in the United Kingdom (U.K.) is fast changing. Recently, the U.K. Gaming (Licensing and Advertising) Bill Passed the Third Reading in the House of Commons. The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill of United Kingdom 2013 (PDF) is an attempt on the part of U.K. to streamline online and remote gambling in UK. It is accompanied with the Pre Legislative Scrutiny Of The Draft Gambling (Licensing And Advertising) Bill Sixth Report of Session 2012–13 Volume I (PDF) and Pre Legislative Scrutiny Of The Draft Gambling (Licensing And Advertising) Bill Sixth Report of Session 2012–13 Volume II (PDF). UK MPs have debated remaining stages of the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill 2013- Third Reading Dated 26 November 2013 (PDF).

In a related development, the British government’s attempts to help protect users against illegal online casinos has been slowed down after Internet service providers (ISPs) in the country denied requests to insert “warning pages” on gambling sites that are unlicensed in the U.K. The warning pages would act to alert users to the unlicensed nature of the site they are accessing, much as warnings are enforced on sites with pornographic content which advise users of illicit images.

To give effect to their intention, the Gambling Commission that regulates commercial gambling in the U.K. met with ISPs like BT and TalkTalk hoping that the ISPs would agree to the so-called “splash pages”. However, the ISPs refused to cooperate and have insisted on a court order or primary legislation to enact the move before they will take any action.

Those close to the talks between the different bodies have stated that the government’s request which was put forward to the Internet service providers illustrates that the Gambling Commission is having difficulty clamping down on unlicensed and offshore gambling websites. This is natural as well as due to conflict of laws in online gambling field.

While the Commission may have jurisdiction over commercial gambling within the UK, they have no authority over sites being operated overseas which can be accessed by UK punters, and can therefore offer little protection to residents in Britain.

The Commission’s scramble for help from the broadband suppliers comes after new legislation which will see tax and licensing dependent on where the customer lives, rather than where the operators are located, which many licensed operators believe will go unenforced due to an inability to regulate unlicensed operators.

The stumbling blocks that the Commission is tripping over just adds further evidence to the difficulty faced by governments when trying to regulate the Internet, as local laws and regulations are frequently unenforceable in relation to offshore companies, which also realise they can often get away with noncompliance.

Will Online Poker Be Banned Or Allowed In The United States Of America?

Will Online Poker Be Banned Or Allowed In The United States Of AmericaMany states of the United States are exploring the option of allowing playing online poker within their jurisdictions. Some of them have already started allowing the same. For instance, a good start for Internet and online gambling in New Jersey has already taken place.

However, there are some aberrations as well when it comes to allowing use of Bitcoins for gaming and gambling in U.S. It has been reported that two Las Vegas casinos would start accepting virtual currency known as Bitcoins. However, this is a tricky situation as use of Bitcoins is legally risky in many jurisdictions including India. Even Bitcoins exchanges in India have been facing legal actions in many cases. Recently, the E-Sports Entertainment LLC (ESEA) entered into a consent judgment for creating ESEA Botnet and violation of CFA and CROA.

For the time being, there seems to be no clarity regarding playing of online gaming an online gambling in U.S. This is more so when Bitcoins are used for such playing. The Poker News Daily has reported that though Americans are free to play online poker in three states yet efforts in the direction of legalising and regulating online poker are also on rise.

In fact, a letter has been sent to state Attorneys General calling for an outright ban on online poker. The letter is divided into two parts. The first is a plea from Chris Koster, Missouri’s Attorney General, Jon Bruning, Nebraska’s Attorney General, and Alan Wilson, South Carolina’s, to their fellow state Attorneys General from around the country, urging them to sign the attached letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of both the Senate and House of Representatives Judiciary Committees. The Attorneys General also want the federal government to ban online gambling in the three states – Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey – that have already legalised and regulated it.

That letter asks Congress to make online gambling, including poker, illegal. In December 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice was seized with the question whether Use of the Internet and Out-Of-State Processors to Sell Lottery Tickets Violates the Wire Act (PDF).  The Department said that the Wire Act outlawed only online sports betting, not all online gambling.

It seems the issue is not going to die very soon just like in India. The legality of online poker in India is still not clear and it is a grey area. Any entrepreneur who wishes to start an online poker business in India has to comply with Indian laws to the best possible extent. Otherwise, he may find himself on the wrong side of the law.