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American Banking Association Openly Criticizes U.S. Online Gambling Ban

23 April 2010 by Devon Chappell

As the day looms closer in which the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), aka, the U.S. online gambling ban, is mandated for enforcement, U.S. financial institutions are expressing – once again – their displeasure with the highly flawed and otherwise unenforceable law.

Why all the groaning from private banks and not the Federal Treasury? You would think it’s because of a loss in revenue, would you not? However, while billions of dollars do indeed stand to be lost (for both private companies and the federal government), the resistance being expressed by the financial industry has more to do with the actual nature of the UIGEA itself.

Placing all of the enforcement responsibility, i.e., blocking online gambling transactions, on the financial industry, the UIGEA is essentially imposing an impossible task, while creating new costs that are only going to spill over onto tax payers. In other words, not only will the UIGEA be impossible to enforce – meaning online gambling will continue in the US – the federal government will lose badly needed tax revenue that would have come from regulation, while imposing more costs on tax payers and financial institutions, that will consequently roll over on U.S. consumers.

Sure, it sounds like a good argument, but where’s the proof? Well, according to none other than Steve Kenneally – the VP of the American Bankers Association – which represents over 90% of the financial institutions doing business in America, the UIGEA is simply the wrong answer.

Keneally opines that not only is it nigh impossible to identify which online gambling transactions are legal or illegal (the UIGEA is full of carve-outs for fantasy sports and horse racing), let alone that a transaction can be detected as an online wager period, there will indeed be a considerable amount of new costs that will inevitably carry over on consumers.

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