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US Congressman Unveils Online Gambling Legislation


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Yesterday (Wednesday, May 6) Congressman Barney Frank unveiled new
legislation to Congress that is designed to legalize and regulate online
gambling in the United States, a country whose government has up until now
stubbornly refused to recognize the benefits of legalizing the internet pastime.

Said Frank, a Democrat from Massachusetts, ‘This bill will enable Americans to
bet online and put an end to an inappropriate interference with their personal
freedom.’ If passed, Frank’s bill will allow the U.S. Treasury Department to
establish an online gambling regulatory and licensing system.

This would allow online gambling companies to accept bets from American
citizens. Currently online gambling is banned in the country as a result of the
Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which was passed at
the end of 2006. The Act has effectively ‘outlawed’ the internet activity in the
U.S.

UIGEA was designed to make it illegal for U.S. banks, financial institutions and
credit card companies to process online gambling-related payments by American
citizens. After the passing of UIGEA, online gambling firms were forced to stop
accepting U.S. players, resulting in a substantial drop in their revenues.

Frank, who is also the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, made
it clear that should online gambling be legalized in the United States, online
casino owners and operators would have to take on a high level of responsibility
once they had applied for and been granted online gambling licenses.

He explained how the onus would be on them to put systems in place to address
problem and underage gambling, as well as prevent fraud and money laundering, or
face having their gambling licenses revoked. Frank is also planning to introduce
legislation to delay the implementation of UIGEA on December 1.

He said, ‘The legislation will stop federal regulators from enforcing the UIGEA
until Congress has had a chance to decide national policy.’ Frank’s announcement
has been widely welcomed by the global online gambling fraternity, as the United
States is by far the most lucrative online gambling market in the world.

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