Posts Tagged ‘online gambling laws’

Massachusets Congressman Seeks to Criminalize Gambling at Online Casinos

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Just when you thought there couldn’t be more drama and underhanded politics in the U.S. online gambling scene, Massachusetts steps up to the plate once again. Reminiscent of the betrayal of Senator Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, Massachusetts citizens could soon find themselves in a position of making another doe-doe brain political decision.

Actually, the decision would be more in the hands of Massachusetts elected officials. Unlike the election of Ted Kennedy’s replacement, the latest issue at hand involves the passing of a newly released bill calling for the illegalization of online casino gambling. What makes the issue even “hotter”, so to speak, is the fact that Speaker Robert DeLeo is attempting to fast track the bill, in effect, glossing over more controversial terms related to online gambling.

The bill primarily seeks to license two brick ‘n mortar casinos and give horseracing tracks the right to offer casino-style slot machines. However, on page 123 of the bill, there is a small, little provision calling for the imprisonment (up to two years) and/or a $25,000 fine for anyone who “knowingly transmits or receives a wager of any type by any telecommunication device, including cellular phone, internet….”.

So yes, Congressman Robert DeLeo is attempting to not only make it illegal to gamble at online casinos, he is attempting to make it possible to punish those that choose to gamble online rather than wager at the land-based casinos he is working on behalf of. Really folks, this is hypocrisy and protectionism at its finest.

The good news is that the bill doesn’t necessarily stand a great chance at being passed. Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick, unsuccessfully attempted to create three new brick ‘n mortar casinos while outlawing online gambling just a couple of years ago. Now, Patrick thinks that DeLeo’s bill should receive a proper public hearing and debate, while DeLeo is of the mindset that the bill should go forward without a vote.

PayPal Overblocking Online Transactions Due to Ambiguity of UIGEA

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Many people have wondered why exactly it is that the American Banking Association, the world’s largest credit card companies, and even the Federal Reserve have said all along the supposed US online gambling ban – the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) – would be nigh impossible to enforce, considering all of the carve outs and discrepancies in the bill. I mean a carve out is a carve out, right? Simply identify which forms of online gambling are illegal and block those out.

As nice as this would be, the reality is that the UIGEA does not give transaction codes for specific forms of gambling that should be deemed legal or illegal. Furthermore, every State’s laws are slightly different, so what may be legal in Kentucky (horse racing) could be illegal in a different State, and vice versa. In other words, the UIGEA has placed this huge responsibility – and what some will say is an insurmountable task – on US financial institutions and payment processors.

Case in point is the recent fledgling of affairs at the South Florida Blues Society, which recently send a member-wide email out explaining that internet transactions for the group are being inadvertently blocked because Paypal has mistakenly listed their website as an online gambling website. Now, of course the South Florida Blues Society is a music fan club and has nothing to do with offering online gambling services. But that’s how it goes when you give payment processors the difficult task of filtering out millions of transactions made every day of the year – some related to gambling, some slightly related to gambling, some for legitimate online gambling and some for illegal online gambling. Oy!

The South Florida Blues Society is now even having trouble processing payments made with Visa and Mastercard – both of which have recently been making a wholehearted attempt to comply with the regulations of the UIGEA – the implementation of which has been delayed until June 1, 2010. At less than two months away, getting the UIGEA “successfully” implemented looks even more daunting and impossible than ever.

EU Online Gambling Laws Likely to Get Clarification & Liberalization in 2010

Friday, March 26th, 2010

While the European hasn’t been a major help to online gambling over the years, at least the EU hasn’t been a hindrance. Err…well, it’s easy for me to say at least. There are certainly more than a few iGaming operators who have spent a great deal of time and resources trying to liberalize the European facing online gambling industry no thanks to the EU.

The fact of the matter is that the EU has done very little to clarify and liberalize online gambling laws in the European Union. What has ended up happening as a result, is that several EU member States have been allowed to wield policies that protect state-run gambling monopolies.

Sure, there has been liberalization in several key gaming countries, such as France and Italy, but to say that protectionism does not exist in the European online gambling industry is simply not true. Furthermore, there are several grey areas of regulation – in particular, regarding online poker. Some EU member State’s have embraced poker, while others have not.

Likely seeking to provide some clarification to the laws, as well as mandate solid online gambling policies that would liberalize the European online gambling industry as a whole, is the next President of the European Union. Well, at least that’s the hope. Since the next President will come from Belgium, which has already liberalized it’s online gambling laws, many believe the Belgium official will push to clarify laws that would help create opportunities for online gambling operators in Belgium.

Truth be told, doing so would help iGaming operators doing business in Europe period. Come July, when the Presidency changeover takes place, the EU will be one step closer at opening the entire market in a cross border fashion that would give citizens of any EU nation the right to gamble with operators licensed in any other EU member State.

True Poker Owner Comes Forward in Kentucky Domain Name Case

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Honestly, I am totally sick of talking about Kentucky and the online gambling drama that has been taking place here for the past year-and-a-half. But you know what? I am going to keep talking about it, because when you look at the big picture, it’s all about principle is it not? The domain name seizure instigated by Kentucky Governor, Steve Beshear, is more than about online gambling legality and protectionism. It is about internet rights and your rights as a U.S. citizen.

It makes sense then that the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA), whose mission is to foster and promote innovation, openness and freedom on the internet,  is taking the lead and representing the multitude of online casino, poker and sports betting operators affected by the domain seizure – 141 domains to be exact. Some of you may recall that iMEGA was seeking to file a motion with the lower Court of Appeals to overturn the domain name seizure, which included several well known online casinos, poker rooms and sports betting sites.

The only catch is that Kentucky’s Supreme Court thinks an industry group like iMEGA doesn’t have legal standing to represent anonymous parties. In other words, as Online Casino Suite reported just last week, the Kentucky high court says the domain name owners must come forward in order for the appeal to go forward. And now, that’s precisely what one site owner is doing.

Yatahay Ltd., which owns the domain name, TruePoker.com is having iMEGA file a new motion on its behalf. Serving as the guinea pig, so to speak, Yatahay’s fate in the case (which will likely be no worse than having the appeal denied) could stand as the precedent for all other domain name owners to come forward and challenge Governor Beshear’s outlandish and unprecedented actions against internet freedom.

As you can imagine, there is still plenty more to unfold in this case. And yes, OCS will be reporting on it. As much as I will do my best to keep from bashing Governor Beshear with some straight up basketball trash talk and gagging when I hear the name of Kentucky, I can make no promises.

Online Gambling Bills Expected to Gain Momentum: Taxes to Help Foster Children

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

With health care reform getting the green light in the United States, the online gambling industry is hoping legislators will be giving iGaming regulation a serious consideration as a resource to help fund the costly tab. And not that they haven’t already, for there are two bills currently doing the rounds in Congress and gaining momentum. If you want to get right to the point and do your part in helping online gambling become legal in the U.S., visit the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative (safeandsecureig.org).

Representative Barney Frank’s Internet Gambling Regulation Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act aims to overturn the Conservative Christian and Republican-backed Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and lay groundwork to give individual State’s the opportunity to tax and regulate online gambling. In conjunction with Frank’s efforts, Washington State House Representative, Jim McDermott, has been pushing a regulatory licensing and taxation bill (basically, a replacement for the UIGEA) called the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act.

Now, McDermott is updating this companion bill, which was originally introduced in 2009, to include specific provisions calling for the funding of foster care. Perhaps in response to the passing of the healthcare reform bill (now Congress is not too tied up to give thought to less pressing issues), McDermott’s announcement of said changes are timely, to say the least. According to McDermott, who is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, the changes to the bill were made in response to State governments being forced to make budget cuts, resulting in cuts for social services like children’s health insurance and foster care.

Well, I personally can hardly think of a better cause than looking after children. And, McDermott’s bill does so twofold: By capturing tens of billions of dollars, thereby generating badly needed tax revenue for foster care programs (that would otherwise be lost revenue) AND by putting an end to underworld corruption in an unregulated market looking to exploit minors. Although anti-gambling proponents would have you to believe otherwise, online gambling regulation would, without a doubt, protect minors from the dangers of gambling addiction by mandating underage gambling preventive measures, not to mention identity and fraud prevention protocols. One need only look to the United Kingdom as a perfect example.

McDermott says he is currently talking with the House Ways and Means Committee to get his bill up for a hearing. When Congressman Frank’s bill is marked up by the House Financial Services Committee – a strong likelihood, although no telling when – McDermott says he will begin pushing his bill to attract more co-sponsors.