Posts Tagged ‘unlawful internet gambling enforcement act’

USA Online Gambling Regulatory Update: Frank’s Bills Delayed; Amendments in Mass

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Currently, there are several areas in the U.S. online gambling legislative landscape that are experiencing a major upheaval. One, of course, is the overall federal stance toward online gambling as a whole in the States. The other resides on a State level, which at this time, is primarily being soaked up by Kentucky and Massachusetts. In other words, no other two States are making as many headlines in regards to online gambling legislation.

Not that I’m sick of talking about Kentucky (okay, maybe I am), it’s just that what is happening in Massachusetts is more about legislation than the legal battle currently taking place in Kentucky. As reported earlier last week here at OCS, Massachusetts is currently seeking to expand gambling. However, certain provisions slipped into the legislation would call for an outright ban of online gambling – going so far to impose a prison sentence on those who participate in online gambling.

The latest word on the street in Massachusetts is that several alternative proposals have been given to amend the legislation, including several dealing specifically with online poker. These include a provision introduced by House Representative, Robert Nyman, to provide an exception within the online gambling ban to games of skill, including online poker. Other proposals seek to ban all forms of online gambling other than online poker.

So yes, the online poker industry definitely has their fingers in this one, folks. This is no surprise considering how big online poker has become in the US over the last ten years, not to mention the lobbying power of groups like the Poker Players Alliance (PPA). Just how the final bill turns out in Massachusetts is anybody’s guess, although proponents of the original bill are already claiming victory. Their belief is that the bill will easily pass the House, and will, perhaps, see some amendments in the Senate.

As for the federal debate on online gambling, it looks like Barney Frank’s bills to overturn the UIGEA and provide regulatory guidelines is being postponed for a hearing to take place in the House Financial Services Committee. By no means up for a markup (just yet), the two bills will be scheduled for a hearing in due time as the Committee tends to previously scheduled matters.

New Hampshire Governor Open to the Prospect of Regulating Online Casinos

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Among the U.S. States whom would be interested in legalizing and taxing online gambling if the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was overturned and regulatory mandates were passed, i.e, Senator Jim McDermott and Barney Frank’s companion bills – the Internet Gambling Regulation Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act and the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act – it’s a good bet to add New Hampshire to the list.

Governor John Lynch, who actually opposes brick ‘n mortar casino gambling and slot machines, is saying he may very well support legislation that would regulate and tax online gambling. In fact, Governor Lynch will be unveiling a plan next week to help New Hampshire close a fast-growing budget deficit during trying economic times. Of the many options in this plan, one of them is online gambling.

Lynch’s critics, or rather, those who oppose online gambling for one reason or another, have already spoken out against the prospects of regulating online gambling. On of these critics is Senator Bob Clegg, who just so happens to be a lobbyist for a golf club seeking to build a casino resort in the city of Hudson. According to Senator Clegg, “The governor is worried about proliferation of gaming, but it sounds like he’s going to make every computer terminal in every home and every BlackBerry — including those BlackBerrys held by kids in high school — a gambling facility.”

What Senator Clegg doesn’t understand however, is that when online gambling is properly regulated – as it is in the United Kingdom – minors are blocked from opening accounts at online casinos. Strict identity checks and fraud prevention protocols also prevent illegal credit card use and money laundering. And if State’s were given individual say in regulating online casinos, the minimum age could be raised from the generally accepted eighteen year benchmark, which needless to say, most land-based casinos operate by.

Of course, at this stage, Governor Lynch’s idea to regulate online gambling is nothing more than wishful thinking. If the UIGEA is permitted to come into law in June later this year, rather than being overturned, it will be black-market, underground business as usual.

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.

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.