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U.S. Appeals Court Upholds Online Gambling Ban


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When it comes to the American online gambling ban and the ongoing
pressure from critics to have the ban repealed in favour of a safer legalized,
regulated and taxable U.S. online gambling industry, the reality is that any
progress made seems to be counteracted by some equally draconian court ruling.

For instance. Last week it was reported that Congressman Barney Frank – the
biggest proponent of online gambling in the U.S. government and the author of a
bill to legalize and regulate the internet activity – has more support for his
bill than ever, but on Tuesday this week a Philadelphia court dropped a
bombshell.

Proponents of freedom of choice where disappointed to learn that the 3rd U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld the country’s much-maligned
online gambling ban. It rejected arguments by an association of off-shore
bookmakers that the U.S. Federal prohibition was ‘vague’ and violated privacy
rights.

The online gambling ban came about in October 2006 after U.S. Congress passed
the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which made it
illegal for U.S. banks, financial institutions and credit card companies to
process online gambling-related payments, thus forcing Americans to stop
gambling online.

Lawyers representing the association of off-shore bookmakers argued in court
that the online gambling ban was unconstitutional on the grounds that the law it
is based on is unclear. They also questioned how the location of a bet could be
determined if it was placed in Delaware through an operation based in Coast
Rica.

This question did not sit well with one of the three judges, Judge Kent Jordan,
who responded by saying, ‘No matter how metaphysical you want to get, I’m not in
Costa Rica, I’m in Delaware.’ The judges also dismissed arguments that the
online gambling ban contravenes the right of online gamblers’ to privacy at
home.

Reportedly seeking to appeal the ruling, chairman of the association of
off-shore bookmaker, Joe Brennan Jr, managed to find a ‘silver lining’ in the
legal ruling. ‘The U.S. Justice Department has been insisting that there is a
blanket ban on online gambling in the United States, but the panel said state
law is the determinant.

‘So if you go by that reasoning, it’s not illegal in that state and it would not
be a violation of federal law to process a transaction from a player there,’ he
said.

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