Life has become increasingly difficult for USA poker players as the repercussions of the UIGEA, passed 3 years ago, continue to unleash aftershocks across the online poker industry. It's not just online poker rooms that are dropping from the US market, but even more importantly, online payment processors.
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There are still a number of highly reputable USA internet poker sites accepting deposits from Americans. The biggest trouble now seems to be getting funds into, and out of, these rooms. Those that are truly committed to accepting American players, however, will ensure that Americans can freely deposit and withdrawal their poker cash.
This whole inconvenience began back in September of 2006 when certain members of US congress got together in the middle of the night, attaching and approving a piece of legislation onto an entirely unrelated Port Security Bill. It was known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling enforcement Act of 2006, a.k.a. the UIGEA.
All members of congress who would have likely opposed the UIGEA were not informed of this late-night meeting, and suddenly, the bill was on its way to former president George W. Bush. There was no chance Bush would veto the Port Security Bill, since homeland security was such a major issue at the time. Thus, in early October, the UIGEA was passed into effect.
Suddenly, everyone was being informed that online poker, and online gambling in general, was illegal. USA poker players were enraged. The online forums were bustling with uncertainty and questions. Finally, when the smoke cleared enough to see the fine print in front of their faces, the truth became popular knowledge.
The UIGEA does not make online gambling illegal. It restricts financial institutions from processing monetary transactions between Americans and online gambling sites. However, gambling is defined as any “game of chance”, in which money is wagered, the winners profit, and the losers forfeit their wager.
Since that time, millions of Americans, including congressman and other members of public office, individuals with an interest in online poker, as well as the entire 1,000,000+ strong Poker Players Alliance (PPA) have spent extensive time and energy trying to have poker declared a game of skill.
Regardless, the fact remains, the UIGEA is making it very difficult to transfer funds, but does not specifically make online poker, or online gambling, illegal for Americans. If it did, the worlds top online poker rooms – PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker – would not continue to accept players.
As multi-million dollar companies, the US government would do everything in its power to get a hold of that revenue if they had any chance of succeeding in prosecution. They simply don't have the jurisdiction to enforce laws on offshore companies; only their own industries. Hence, the criminalizing of US financial institutions who facilitate relative fund transfers.
Though online poker rooms and poker payment processors are fully aware of the actual laws, many of their attorneys have suggested they back out of the US market anyway. Most of them did, but not all. There are still a multitude of secure, regulated and respected USA poker rooms. The most suffered loss has been the continuous withdrawal of online payment processors. But every time one disappears, another arises to take its place.
Currently, echeck is the best online payment process available to USA poker players. They can also find UseMyWallet/QuickTender and Money Transfers and instant, or nearly instant means of depositing. As far as USA poker room withdrawals, the most reliable options remains a paper check. As long as it may take to receive your payment, at least you know its coming, and you'll be able to cash it at your banking establishment.
If you are from United Kingdom, you can read this article about UK poker rooms, where you can find a list of british poker sites.