Poker Coverage:

Law Scholar: 'Bad Actor' Clause For Online Poker Legislation Would Be Unconstitutional

According To Lobbyist For PokerStars, The Online Firm Can't Be Excluded


Lawrence Tribe, a law scholar at Harvard, says that so-called “bad actor” clauses that aim to prevent a site like PokerStars from entering a regulated online poker market in the Unite States “would not survive federal constitutional attack.”

Essentially, Tribe has argued, in a press release issued this week to the media, that enacting such a provision would be creating a “trial by legislature.”

In 2012, PokerStars settled with the federal government without admitting to any wrongdoing in connection with the Black Friday indictment. The firm paid more than $700 million to the feds. Just last week, the firm was sold to another gaming firm for a whopping $4.9 billion. The move is said to help PokerStars’ chances of U.S. re-entry.

Yet some still believe that calls for the bad clause will persist.

Nearly all of the tribal groups in the state of California want PokerStars cut out of the equation for a possible online poker network catering to 38 million Californians. PokerStars tried previously to gain a foothold in Nevada and New Jersey, but both jurisdictions didn’t pan out.

“It is indisputable that [the online poker bills in California] exclude certain former Internet poker providers from California’s intrastate Internet poker market without any judicial trial,” said Mr. Tribe, who happens to work as a lobbyist for PokerStars.

Tribe added that an “arbitrary cutoff date” used to prevent PokerStars from entering the Golden State market would also be unconstitutional.

In addition to California, the state of Pennsylvania is looking at legalizing online poker. Talks there also include a bad actor clause that could exclude PokerStars from the market.



over 8 years ago

How is it news that a lobbyist for PS thinks that to exclude them is unconstitutional? PS built it's brand while others waited for the online business model to be legalized. PS should not benefit from staying in the market after Black Friday. People can argue "it wasn't illegal" but it was shady at best. They made their bed and now the casinos will block them from the US market. They can pay off the justice department by bailing out Full Tilt but that doesn't help them with state regulators.