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Online Casino News - November, 2008

Controversy Looms Over the UIGEA Once Again

 

 

  Seed Newsvine

by Mira Patel, News Staff Writer

November 11, 2008

As pressure is being mounted on the U.S. Treasury Department to implement regulations imposed by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committe, Barney Frank, has penned a letter to Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, strongly urging him to resist the Bush administration's rush to push the legislation through its final implementation stage before coming a fully functioning law.

The irony of the situation is that the majority of people believe the UIGEA can be anything but fully functioning, but rather, is an inherently flawed law that places undue burden on the financial services industry, which is already dealing with an economic crisis. Congressman Frank noted this in his letter to Paulson, as well as some deep concern regarding the role of Deputy Director of Public Liaison William Wichterman, who used to work for Senator Bill Frist and as a lobbyist for the National Football League.

In some circles, former Senate House majority leader, Bill Frist, is thought of as one of the most crooked politicians ever. Frist, who had received over $50,000 in campaign contributions from Harrah's (whose stock rose 15% after the passing of the UIGEA) and who is under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee for "insider trading", was the primary force behind getting the UIGEA underhandedly passed.

Following suit in how the UIGEA was passed into law (as an attachment to a Port Security bill, which means it could not be debated), the anti-online gambling legislation is now being hit up with what Congressman Frank refers to as "undue political pressure". Most interesting is that Wichterman has been paid over $200,000 by the NFL to lobby on their behalf. And guess what? The NFL has been long opposed to the UIGEA. And guess what else? The UIGEA has carveouts for fantasy football betting.

Whether Congressman Frank's letter will be enough to dissuade Secretary Paulson from implementing the UIGEA, is anybody's guess. It is not uncommon for an outgoing administration to rush the passing of controversial laws before the subsequent administration takes power. But in this case, considering the economic situation in the U.S. (and the rest of the world for that matter), doesn't it just seem insane to do so?



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