On June 7th 2007, Congressman John Wexler of the 19th District Florida, introduced the The Skill Game Protection Act H.R. 2610 . This was a big step forward for millions of Americans who had been turned into common criminals by the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). At the heart of the problem is the fact that many law abiding Americans enjoy playing games of skill against one another online. It is called recreation and the Bill of Rights and Constitution of the United States guarantee each citizen the right to the pursuit of happiness. According to Senator Barney Frank from Massachusetts, who is also questioning the legality of the UIGEA, it is not the government’s business to tell adult American citizens what they can do with their own money in the privacy of their own homes.
So what is the difference between gambling and skill games? Also, what has happened to all the people who enjoyed playing poker and other card games online. Have they just stopped playing online games? To answer the first question, what is the difference between gambling and a skill game, we need only consider that skill means the outcome of a game is determined by the ability of the players. According to the act in section one paragraph two, “(2). While each of these games contains an element of chance, over any substantial interval, a player’s success at any of these games is determined by that player’s relative level of skill and is widely recognized as such.”
For instance, a beginner poker player wouldn’t stand much of a chance in a poker game with experienced poker players. On the other hand, in a game of war, in which the turn of the cards determines who wins and loses with no skill or interaction by the players, it is merely chance that determines who wins and therefore is a game of chance regardless of how many times you play or how much experience you have. The difference is obvious.
What has happened to online card players since the passage or the UIGEA? Many are still playing card games online through offshore venues, illegally. But many others have discovered skill games that are legal in many states and hosted by U.S. companies. Even video poker players have found poker games that they play against other poker players. Taking poker playing skill or video poker playing skill and using it against other players is challenging and a lot of fun. Many card game players who enjoy spades, hearts, cribbage, gin rummy and more are enjoying skill games as well. Skill game venues offer video arcade games, word games and card games. For people who have developed their poker playing skill it is a way to continue to enjoy the thoroughly American game of poker.
When Congressman Wexler’s Act is finally passed Americans will be assured of the opportunity to enjoy their favorite skill games provided by American companies in the privacy of their own homes.