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House Oversight Committee Facing Down the UIGEA

11 February 2011 by admin

There was once a Republican by the name of Darrell Issa. This Republican once voted in favor of trying to save US citizens from themselves—voted in favor of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). This was once upon a time in 2006. Now we find ourselves in 2011, less than a year after the UIGEA went into effect back in June of 2010. Now this Republican Darrell Issa is now the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and he has put out a call to businesses to share which federal laws they think are holding growth in the US back. Issa’s vote may just come back to haunt him.

As I am sure you can guess, the UIGEA was submitted as one of the federal laws that is holding the US back in terms of job and revenue growth, both of which are things the US needs. Badly. But the other problem that is UIGEA specific is that it is putting a heavy burden on banks and credit card companies in the US as they have the job of making sure that the UIGEA is carried out; according to the decree of the UIGEA, financial institutions are to prohibit US citizens from making transactions to and from online casinos. It has the feeling of ‘Here, US financial institutions, we want this but we do not want to do the work, so you do it for us.’ Not cool.

And here is the kicker—online gambling in the US has not stopped or decreased. It has increased! If there is one thing about Americans it is this—the government telling them not to do something is a sure way to ensure that they will find a way to do it. Think about it, the US was founded on such actions: Telling the colonies ‘Pay really big to King George’ was a sure way to get Americans into smuggling and black market trade of high taxed goods. For example, alcohol tax was high so secret home distilleries were the answer. The same thing happened when in the 1920s the federal government decided to try to save Americans from the evils of alcohol and Prohibition began. Smuggling and boot legging sky rocketed. So now nearly one hundred years later, the federal government is trying to prohibit online gambling. And like Prohibition in the 1920s, it is not working and US online gambling is only increasing. America, Land of Reverse Psychology.

Considering the value and increasing number of Americans who are gambling online, the federal government should be looking at online gambling as a good thing. Plenty to tax and a good number of jobs would be created if the US moved to regulate online gambling.

In a letter sent in answer to Issa’s call for what laws are holding the US growth back, Michael Waxman, director of the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, said, “As you gather input on the various government regulations that have negatively impacted job growth, we would like to draw your attention to the opportunity to generate tens of thousands of new jobs and tens of billions in domestic gross expenditures should the federal government replace a failed attempt to prohibit Internet gambling with a system to legitimize the thriving activity.”

In other words Issa’s eyes are being pointed towards the federal law that he voted for that is holding the US back from receiving a large revenue source and from creating a good number of much needed jobs. Now we will see if the House Oversight Committee will indeed review the UIGEA and add to the push to have it repealed.

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