Legislators Put a Hold on Implementing UIGEA

As you may be aware, in 2006 the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was enacted barring US players from participating in online casino gambling. Subsequently, after Congressman Barney Frank wrote a bill called "The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act of 2009, many legislators began to rethink this issue. In fact, over 15 members of Congress have asked authorities to essentially "put a hold" on the implementation of the regulations of the UIGEA that would go into effect December 1.

What are the reasons for this sudden turnabout?

Considering the fact that the UIGEA was hastily added to the Safe Port Bill, and is ambiguous at best, members of Congress feel that the UIGEA would add an unnecessary burden to an already shaky economy, specifically to the financial industry. This is a valid point since most financial institutions have been uncertain as to how to implement the UIGEA to begin with.

Furthermore, since Congressman Frank's bill surfaced, additional legislation generated from the House and the Senate has been written in an effort to overturn the UIGEA. The support for these bills has grown in large numbers and currently more than 60 members support new legislation, as well as prominent land-based casinos.

With the economy still in a slump it has been suggested that debating these new bills now is not a priority and, therefore, it would be appropriate to hold off implementing UIGEA for at least a year or until such time as the new bills can be discussed on the floor of the House and the Senate. Moreover, since we all know that the UIGEA bill has quite several flaws in it; it would be adding insult to injury to begin its implementation.

When the UIGEA was passed, online gaming operators in Europe left the American market. This only added to the devastating losses to America's economy. Currently more European countries are legalizing online gambling, and it seems apparent that the UIGEA law needs to be abolished if only to regain the billions of dollars lost when it was enacted.

It should also be noted that the US Treasury was presented with a letter asking for a hold to be put on the implementation of the UIGEA. Although no response has been forthcoming, an appeal was made. The Court of Appeals found the UIGEA did not apply across the board in the US, but only in states where online casino gambling was illegal. Again, there are many contradictions to this law that have to be fully debated before the December 1 deadline.