Online Gambling In The US

UIGEA Regulations

When George W. Bush put his pen to paper on September 30, 2006 there was little doubt that it brought a major impact to Internet gambling. This was the act of signing into law what is known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. (UIGEA). The Uigea regulations were about to cause a stir that perhaps no one anticipated. As far as impact goes, was it really that devastating to the online gaming world? In many ways yes. Has it brought about the results that the United States Parliament expected? The answer to that is no. Cut off The Cash FlowThe havoc that this new law on gambling inflicted was in respect to the financing of gaming activities. It must be understood that online gaming is not illegal in respect to USA law. Therefore, what it comes down to is the USA Government’s concept that if you dry up the flow of money going to gaming sites, then you are going to dry up the flow of gambling. In many respects they underestimated the will of avid online gamblers. The new internet gambling regulation enforces the restriction of being able to transfer money for the purposes of “unlawful Internet Gambling. ” Now that really doesn’t make a lot of sense does it? Especially when technically there is no law that says internet gambling is illegal. UIGEA regulations were one of those laws that crept in through the “back door” without debate because it was attached to the SAFE Port Act. The whole concept of UIGEA is to enforce regulations between Banking Institutions and USA citizens. Like mostly laws though, it is vague and difficult to interpret which is part of the reason it has caused such a stir. How UIGEA Impacted US GamblersAs far as impact to the online gambling world, it drastically affected the USA players. Means of funding their gambling accounts became virtually non-existent and therefore many of the gaming sites imposed restrictions on US players. The outcome was that many USA players no longer had any significant online gaming venues. In respect to the online casino owners themselves, they lost a huge amount of money with the decrease in their USA membership. Another repercussion of this internet gambling regulation is the tension it created with the WTO, which declared that it violated a trade treaty with Antigua and the Bahamas. This lead to a $3. 4 billion trade sanction imposed against the USA by Antigua, which they won but was settled out of court. Where the UIGEA stands nowThe compliance deadline for UIGEA is drawing close as it’s slated for December 1, 2009. The one hope left to win a delay lies with a petition held in the hands of Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner. Unfortunately, it seems Representative Barney Frank, an opponent of the UIGEA, has no hope of getting his petition addressed within the next few weeks with so many other pressing issues facing the country. The hope is to get the UIGEA delayed a year. So the question posed is whether Geithner is going to have the time or ability to address the petition prior to the deadline date for UIGEA? If so, is the petition going to get the point across about the negative impact that UIGEA regulation could have on a flailing economy? The Poker Player Association filed the 19 congressman backed petition with Representative Barney Frank as the lead. The gist of the petition is the concerns that the Banking Institutions have regarding the deadline date.

UIGEA Delayed – What Happens Now?

Just days before compliance of UIGEA was to become official the big question was whether there would be a delay in its enactment. Now just days after the answer to that question, which was yes, there has been a reprieve and the big question is now what does this all mean for internet gambling regulation? Where does this leave the American people in respect to the online gambling industry?Since the UIGEA was delayed there is a least a six month period to allow pro gamers the opportunity to put forth a stronger voice concerning their opinions of online gambling and the options for legalizing it formally. Does internet gambling regulation now prevent US players?All this legal talk about online gambling law is all well and good but to the average avid online casino player it just leaves one question. Will they or will they not be able to play a game of great enjoyment on the internet from the comfort of their own home? The answer? It still remains to be seen, however in the view of many authorities it does look more promising. With UIGEA delayed there will be a hearing on two bills pertaining to internet gambling by the House Financial Services committee. Congressman Barney Frank who was a strong supporter of the postponement of UGIEA feels that this has allowed more time to work on his proposed legislation to undo the actions that were taken during the Bush administration regarding online gambling. Those advocates for internet gambling such as Michael Waxman, Barney Frank, and the multitude of American online gamers all promote the fact that if the American Government were to banish UIGIA, the Government itself would have much to gain through what would be new found revenue. By imposing internet gambling regulation and taxation it would seem like a win-win situation for all. The country would gain much needed funds for public programs and the people would have their rights to choose responsible gaming protected. What Happens Next Ultimately the decision for the postponement of UIGEA rested in the hands of the Treasury and Federal Reserve. It meant they would have to produce valid grounds to do so. Ultimately they came to their conclusion for an extension apparently after conferring with the USA Justice Department. The grounds for delay were based on the Administrative Procedure Act determining that UIGEA in its present form is “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest. ” This is in combination with other references to law allowed for a delay of six months although most gambling advocates were hoping for a year. Although with UIGEA delayed it’s a great step forward for the online gaming community by no means is the battle over. No doubt many of the financial institutions that have been sitting on the fence in respect to online gambling law are anxiously awaiting a final decision as well. There has been a great deal of revenue lost by them as a result of withdrawing the funding opportunities for USA gamers. With the UIGEA delayed, the gaming world now waits until June 1st, 2010 which is the next slated date for the enactment of UIGEA. It also has to be remembered that not only does the US Government have to consider the wants of the people, and the legalities that go with the enactment but there is also what stance the World Trade Organization take should the enactment of UIGEA take place?

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