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New Gambling Bill for US Citizens

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Out with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA)

With the introduction of Barney Frank’s Internet Gambling Regulation,
Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2009, it appears that online gambling
may be legalised.

The Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee proposed the new
gambling bill on Wednesday, 6 May this year, and introduced it by saying it,
“provides for the licensing of internet gambling activities, by the Secretary of
Treasury, to provide for consumer protections on the internet, to enforce the
tax code, and for other purposes.” Online betting communities have applauded the
bill which will reverse UIGEA legislation that has been considered to thwart the
civil liberties of those who choose to participate in online gambling. Barney
Frank’s bill followed the reintroduction of the Midnight Rule Act, which
mandates that all regulatory changes made by the White House within the last
three months of an administration must be approved by incoming cabinet
secretaries. As such, controversial UIGEA legislation from the Bush
administration will be made redundant following the introduction of the new
gambling bill under Obama’s leadership.

The bill is currently set to be introduced at Congress in December this year,
and proposes that licensed online gambling operators are legalised. These
operators will be subject to investigation for previous illegal activity, and
can only operate after signing a five year licensing agreement in which they
agree to adhere to strict operating criteria. The licenses will only be issued
to operators who are able to prove that they have the necessary financial,
administrative and operational support structures in place to ensure fair
gambling practice for the user. Consumer protection will be prioritised and
operators will be required to provide evidence of sufficient anti-fraud and
identity theft technologies. They are obviously also bound to adhere to all
relevant state laws, including the protection of minors and problem gamblers.
Those who are found to be in contravention of any state laws will be subject to
penalties and legal action.

Whilst the bill will provide consumers access to online betting at casinos,
bingo sites and online poker rooms, sports betting and any other gambling deemed
illegal under the ‘Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act’ will still
remain prohibited. However, the new act is currently being viewed as a victory
in itself, with the anticipation of changes being made to existing regulations
imposed on sports betting regulation in the not too distant future.

Whilst the bill will receive opposition from Republicans, it appears there is
immense support in favour of the new legislation. Former Head of the Poker
Players Alliance, Alfonse D’Amato, has publicly announced that “We are grateful
for Chairman Frank’s leadership and will be activating our grassroots army made
up of over one million members to help him drive his legislation.”

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