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Sad Day For Poker

Online poker players are anxious over President Bush's signing on a legislation that will permanently ban them from gambling on online casinos and poker sites.

The new law will block financial transactions between online gambling sites and US banks and credit card companies. The prohibition was attached in a congressional back-room deal to an unrelated port security bill before the congress adjourned Friday, Sept. 29.

The legislation is expected to topple down the $12 billion online gaming industry, cutting off its revenues by half. Many of the leading online gambling companies have already suspended their operations in the US, including industry leader PartyGaming.

"Who is Congress to tell people what to do in their own home when it doesn't bother anybody else?" asked Mike Sexton, a professional poker player and commentator for the World Poker Tour. "We feel like our rights have been violated."

The bill that will be made into law by Bush's signing will prohibit online gambling by the prohibition of transactions between US banks and online gambling companies, including online poker.

Longtime advocates for the banning of online gambling however, are thrilled. Chad Hills, a gambling research analyst for Focus on the Family, was happy about the passage of the bill, saying that online gambling operators were "making a mockery of our U.S. policy, they were making a mockery of our Congress, they were making a mockery of our ability to enforce this legislation."

But gamblers are mourning. Pro players commented publicly such as Gus Hansen, saying the passage was "a bad day for poker" and Shannon Shorr, a professional poker player, called the measure "both frustrating and devastating."

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