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US Government Delays New Online Gambling Ban


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In October 2006, U.S. Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling
Enforcement Act
(UIGEA) to ban online gambling in the United States
by ensuring that U.S. banks, credit card firms and other financial institutions
would be penalized for processing online gambling-related payments.

While the threat of UIGEA, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s ensuing online
gambling ‘witch hunt’, caused the majority of the world’s leading online
gambling firms to pull out of the United States, in other words stop accepting
American players, UIGEA has not strictly speaking been enforced – until now.

But just as the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve were about to
enforce UIGEA today (Tuesday, December 1), they announced that they were giving
U.S. financial institutions an extra six months to comply with the UIGEA
regulations, which are designed to prevent Americans from gambling online.

Now the UIGEA regulations will only be enforced on June 1, 2009. The delay has
largely been attributed to numerous complaints received from the U.S. financial
industry such as over three years down the line they have still not received a
clear definition of what constitutes online gambling from the government.

It seems that the financial institutions require a hard and fast set of rules in
order to recognize online gambling-related payments in order to block them. And
a good thing to. Imagine the kind of mayhem that would ensue if American’s had
their check, credit card or electronic fund payments incorrectly blocked.

On Friday last week, both the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve
announced that several members of Congress had sought to delay the roll-out of
UIGEA, arguing that there was considerable support for new legislation to
clarify the current laws which have been described as ‘unclear’ in many
quarters.

Happy at the news was Congressman Barney Frank, the biggest government supporter
of legalized online gambling in the U.S. ‘This will give us a chance to act in
an unhurried manner on my legislation to undo this regulatory excess by the Bush
administration and to undo this ill-advised law,’ he said in a statement.

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