A Senator from New York State Requests for Bad Actor Investigation

April 24, 2013

In the recent past, a lot of the states in the US have considered the option of legalizing online poker within their premises. Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey have already announced legalization of online poker within the states. But there are a lot of officials in the governing bodies of the country, who feel that online poker is a bad influence on the country, and the states should not legalize online poker or any other form of online gambling.

Senator Tim Kennedy’s opinion on online poker

A Senator for the state of New York, Tim Kennedy is highly against the legalization of online poker, and he feels that online gaming is a menace. In one of his interviews, Kennedy stated that legalization of various forms of online gaming will increase the level of illegal gambling activities within the country, and it will also create a new generation of problem gamblers. Kennedy feels that easy access to gaming sites will worsen the monetary condition of the people who are addicted to playing online games, and it will also give unauthorized or illegal operators an opportunity to make money.

Gambling addiction has been proven to be as dangerous as any other type of addiction. Keeping this fact in mind, Kennedy feels that legalization of online poker will worsen the financial condition of gambling addicts as they won’t be able to curb their gambling behavior, and they will have access to gambling sites at all times. In addition to this, Kennedy stated that at present, operators are scared to conduct illegal gambling activities within the country, as online gambling is banned in most of the regions of the United States. But if the states legalize online gambling, unauthorized operators will also find means to operate online.

Looking at the hazards of legalization of online gambling, Senator Kennedy has requested the State Gaming Commission in New York to investigate online gambling activities and to form policies to protect the New York residents from falling into the trap of predatory websites.

Operators licensed in other states and providing games to New York residents

Kennedy stated that even though operators have been licensed by other state authorities, they will have access to the players based in New York. He said that players from New York will be allowed to play on these websites through illegal private networks. Most operators use middlemen to set up private networks in states where they don’t have legal access, and earn money from the residents in that region. Kennedy is worried that all the operators from New Jersey will move into the New York online gaming market in this way, and the number of gamblers will increase within the state.

Preventing bad actors from getting licenses

Kennedy feels that the gaming commission should investigate all the operators who are illegible to get gaming license from Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey. This will help prevent operators from setting up illegal private networks in other states. He feels that minors and addicted gamblers need to be protected from such online networks, and so he has requested the New York state’s gaming commission to look into this matter.

The current legal system in the state of New York

According to the present legal system in the state, there is hardly any policy or law clearly stating that illegal operators are not allowed to enter the state. In addition to this, players who are cheated on these illegal sites don’t have a clear forum to file their complaints. The FBI is supposed to regulate such laws within the country, but in the year 2011, the US Department of Justice stated that online gambling can be legalized by the various state authorities within the US.

Since the state authorities currently have the power to regulate online gaming activities within their premises, Kennedy feels that the New York state government should take steps to ensure that illegal poker operators don’t enter the state. Also, he feels that the state should set up a forum that can address the issues of gambling addicts and players who have been cheated on poker websites.

Impact of Black Friday on the online poker industry

According to experts, a lot of the state authorities are against legalization of online poker because of the Black Friday incident. In the year 2011, three popular poker operators in the country, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker, and PokerStars were charged with criminal offenses of money laundering and conducting illegal gambling activities within the state. This incident created a bad image of poker in the eyes of the people as these companies continued to offer online poker to the US citizens, even though the US government had banned online gambling in the country.

Many governmental agencies feel that if these companies are given operating licenses in some of the states within the country, they will find illegal ways to enter the online gaming market in other states as well. These companies had established fake websites to facilitate their money transactions for their gaming websites, so it would be easy for them to set up private gaming networks as well.

The fact that these companies conducted bank fraud and made millions of dollars through their poker schemes suggests that they are capable of indulging in illegal activities even in the future. This is the primary reason as to why Senator Kennedy wants the gaming commission to keep a close watch on all the activities of these operators.