US Bill to Clarify Online Gambling LawsPublished August 5, 2008 by OCR Editor
A United States Congressman has introduced a bill designed to clarify the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The bill specifies online sports betting as illegal gambling and gives amnesty to companies who left the US market after the passing
A United States Congressman has introduced a bill designed to clarify the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which effectively banned Internet gambling by outlawing the transfer of funds from a financial institution to Internet gambling sites.
Bill HR 6663, introduced by Republican Congressman Pete Sessions (Texas) specifically defines illegal online gambling as only gambling involving sports betting. It also grants amnesty to companies who willingly left the US market, and might even allow their re-entry into the US market.
Why sports betting?
According to the bill, "No provision of this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed as clarifying or implying that Internet bets or wagers, other than sports bets or wagers, which were accepted subsequent to October 13, 2006, are in violation of Federal law."
Sessions said he singled out sports betting because it is already outlawed in 49 of the 50 states (with the exception of Nevada), that it provides potential for corruption of sporting events, and the fact that all federal prosecutions involving illegal gambling thus far have involved sports betting.
UIGEA problematic bill
The UIGEA's ambiguity has caused major problems for those attempting to enforce it. The US Treasury and Reserve Board are still revising the rules, made difficult by the lack of precedent in cases involving online gambling.
The UIGEA has also seen law-abiding UK companies voluntarily exit the US market, while non-complying companies who remained in the US gained an unfair advantage and benefited financially.