Professional US poker players were stunned on Black Friday when they woke up and found out they no longer had an outlet for their chosen occupation. Thousands of players made their living playing online poker, and when the US government enforced prohibition of online gambling, the players were left without a job.
Matthew Stout told Bloomberg. At the time Stout was speaking, his friend and fellow player Joey Cappuccio interjected.
“By ‘eventually,’ we meant ‘now.'”
The two players decided while they were out at the International Series of Poker this past summer that it was time for a change. No longer could they sit back and have the US government dictate to them their freedom to play poker online. The friends made a decision to make the move down to Costa Rica, where online gambling is not prohibited.
Hundreds of other US citizens have made similar moves in recent months a new company created to help US players get set up in other countries that allow Internet gambling, offered their help to Stout and Cappuccio. The company helps players find residences, set up foreign bank accounts, and secure an Internet connection. The fee for the service is $1,000 per person.
“My friends and I have been discussing the possibility of moving for a couple of months,” said one poker player who wished to remain anonymous. “The truth is, we have no choice. We were playing poker online for a living, paying our taxes, and now the government has basically turned their back on us. It is like we are getting kicked out of the country.”
Of course, that is a little extreme. The government maintains that online gambling is illegal, although there are no laws on the books that make it illegal to place a bet online. The laws are all geared towards stopping the foreign companies that the government feels are exploiting US gamblers.
Federal legislators are in the process of changing the current laws. Several bills have been proposed that would regulate online poker in the US. The legislation is expected to be debated later this year, with agrowing number of lawmakers now in favor of allowing Internet poker. Individual states have also started the process of regulating online gambling in recent months.