Three Consumer Protections needed once Online Poker is Legalized

Posted by James Guill on Nov 03, 2011 Posted in Online Poker News, US Poker News | No Comments »

Last week, Congress conducted a hearing regarding online poker.  One of the main concerns brought up repeatedly in the hearing was consumer protection.  It was agreed by everyone that consumer protection needed to be one of the top priorities of any bill passed by Congress.  With that in mind, here are three consumer protections that I believe need to be in place once online poker is legalized.

Regular Audits of Online Poker Companies

A division of whatever organization gets put in charge of regulating online poker needs to be an audit division.  As we saw with the mess with Full Tilt and UB, companies that are regulated need to be regularly monitored to assure that they are following the laws and that the funds are actually there.

By this, I mean a full audit of the companies finances, including an on-site review of the companies financials.  If there are irregularities, not only should stiff penalties be enforced, but also potential suspension of licensing and gaming until the problem is corrected.

Increased Scrutiny Regarding Signups and Account Creation

Playing online poker was remarkably easy for anyone with access to a deposit method.  It was very easy for underaged players to play on the sites, and that will be considered a major problem for many.  First, there needs to be a solid verification process put in place by the online sites to verify that the player is of legal age.  Next, there needs to be other monitoring measures in place to deal with players that slip through the cracks.

Also, we need to restrict the types of payments that can be accepted for US players and also restrict player to player transfers to US players unless they have been verified as being of legal age.  As such, we need to eliminate payment processors like Click2Pay etc as valid funding options.  Methods that are easily traceable are my suggestion for account funding.

Division to Monitor Online Cheating

It is sad that 2+2 and other forums tend to be the online poker watchdogs when it comes to online cheating.  A division needs to be setup to actively monitor and ultimately prosecute online cheating that occurs on licensed US sites.  If the cheating is done by a player outside of the US, the sites need to prosecute that player or not be allowed to do business with the United States.  Actively monitoring cheating with a division setup to do so is the best answer.  I don’t trust Raul of customer service to be able to notice someone multi-accounting, etc.

While there are surely many other protections that players need to be afforded, the three listed above are those that I feel are most important to help protect both player and the companies.

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