New information has been released regarding the Congressional hearings to take place this week regarding online poker. The first hearing will commence on Thursday November 17th at 2:15 ET and will be held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
Entitled “Future of Internet Gambling: What’s at Stake for Tribes,” it has now been revealed that former Senator and Poker Players Alliance Chairman Alfonse D’Amato will testify at the trial. D’Amato was part of the panel of witnesses that testified to the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade last month.
D’Amato followed up his testimony with a letter to the committee clarifying his stance on numerous concerns surrounding online poker. First, he addressed poker bots and felt that the best online poker sites took appropriate measures to guard players against them. He said that Congressional legislation could limit player to playing on sites that protected them from bots.
He also spoke out against Chapman University law professor Kurt Eggert’s belief that online poker needed a rating system. D’Amato reiterated that skillful play should be rewarded and not punished. He felt that Eggert’s portrayal of winning players as predators was incorrect and felt they should be looked at as competitors.
D’Amato also addressed Chairwoman Bono Mack’s concerns over internet service disruptions and told her that sites already address the matter in their policies. Such policies are readily available to all players. Finally, he argued against the comparison of online poker legalization to the legalization of drugs. He pointed out that the act of playing poker is legal in nearly every states and the comparison to legalizing drugs is unfounded.
John Pappas, the PPA Executive Director told PocketFives.com last week that the Committee on Indian Affair reached out to D’Amato to testify and felt that this was a perfect fit for the trial.
The other hearing to be held this week will be held by the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade. The hearing will commence on November 18th at 9 a.m. ET and is entitled “Internet Gaming: Regulating in an Online World.”
Witnesses for the Friday hearing have yet to be determined and it was not made clear whether the hearing would examine the Barton Bill or would talk about online poker in general.
It appears that Congress is serious about researching the issues surrounding online poker. Now, we have to sit back and see whether any significant progress will be made before the election year kicks off into full swing.