Congressman Robert Wexler's Skill Game Protection Act Seeks to Clarify Wire Act of 1961

On June 7, 2007, 2 more proposals that aim to change the U.S. gaming industry made their way into Congress.

Although the debate about Barney Frank's Internet Gambling Regulation Act (IGRA) attracted more attention, the discussion of Robert Wexler's Skill Game Protection Act (SGPA), which aims to get an exemption from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) for skill games like Poker, Backgammon, Mahjong and Chess, could prove more important in the near future.

Wexler's proposal has a better chance of getting approved because the it seeks to clear the Wire Act, by granting exemption to skill games rather than modifying the existing gaming laws.

Just what the Wire Act enforces has always been a matter of debate because the language of the law only covers sports betting. Since the Wire Act passed in 1961, no poker or even backgammon games have been played by telephone.

The passage of the SPGA would just add pressure to the ongoing situation between the United States and the WTO, where the U.S. is currently involved in a row with Antigua over the overseas supply of gambling services.

As the Chairman of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) former Senator Alfonse D'Amato said, Congressman Wexler's proposal is important because it will ensure fair treatment of the games.

With televised poker tournaments becoming popular in the U.S. and the game almost a daily part of life in America, many would agree. A lot of courts have struggled to determine whether games, like poker and backgammon are games of skill. Congressman Wexler's proposal of will clarify that portion of the law. The SPGA also clears the 1961 Wire Acts reference to bets regarding games like chess, poker, bridge and others where the result is determined by the player's skill in the game.


June 18, 2007