Here is a list of business issues the United States is dealing with at the moment: the sub-prime mortgage crisis, a plummeting dollar, an imminent recession, rising homeowner’s insurance rates, skyrocketing oil prices, and Internet gambling enforcement. Wait, what? Internet gambling enforcement?
Yes, one of the major pressures on United States banks at the moment is enforcing a law that was sprung on them by former Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, in the closing moments of the 2006 senate session. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), only endorsed by right wing religious conservatives and attached to an unrelated Port Security Bill, puts the onus on banks to figure out what transactions on the Internet are illegal online gambling transactions, as opposed to legal ones.
Head of the House Financial Service Committee, Congressman Barney Frank, thinks this responsibility for banks to police online gambling is one of the “stupidest” things the United States congress has ever done.
As a result, Frank has announced a spring time hearing to figure out how to solve this issue.
“The banks have a lot of other things to worry about right now,” Frank said, “I don’t think poker should be one of them.”
Frank’s Bill HR 2046, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act (IGREA), currently has 46 co-sponsors and is gaining steam since it was brought to the table in the middle of 2007.
The IGREA would negate the UIGEA by allowing the formation of a regulatory committee to oversee Internet gambling. The UIGEA, which the IGREA is responding to, declares the banks responsible for monitoring illegal Internet gambling. Frank’s bill would also allow state’s to opt out. The Bill will be discussed at the Hearing.
In related news, Representative Jim McDermott this week announced a revised version of his Bill that would see billions of dollars in tax revenue raised from Internet gambling proceeds over the next ten years.
Earlier today iMEGA won its right to fight for their clients first amendment rights, which they believe the UIGEA violates.
Add the state of the United States economy at the moment and you will foresee the formation of a reversal in attitude towards online gambling in the United States.
In 2005 the United Kingdom passed the Gambling Act, which ruled online gambling to be legal and since 2007 the industry has been successfully managed and regulated in the UK. The United States is likely, at some point, to follow their example.