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Archive for the ‘Online Gaming’ Category

16th August 2011

Frequent followers of American political developments may have noted the results of the recent Iowa straw poll, a non-binding poll taken to gauge the sentiments of the sovereign State of Iowa‘s electorate. The substance of this posting is not an analysis of that poll, but an analysis of the response of the so-called “mainstream media” in the aftermath of the poll. In order to provide further elucidation it is necessary to quote directly from an Associated Press article featured on Yahoo News at Yahoo.com:

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Ron Paul, once seen as a fringe candidate and a nuisance to the establishment, is shaping the 2012 Republican primary by giving voice to the party’s libertarian wing and reflecting frustration with the United States’ international entanglements. The Texas congressman placed second in a key early test vote Saturday in Ames, coming within 152 votes of winning the first significant balloting of the Republican nominating contest. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota won the nonbinding Iowa straw poll, but Paul’s organizational strength and a retooled focus on social issues set him up to be a serious player in the campaign. “I believe in a very limited role for government. But the prime reason that government exists in a free society is to protect liberty, but also to protect life. And I mean all life,” he told a raucous crowd on Saturday… Later Saturday, Paul won 4,671 votes, or roughly 28 percent of the votes from party activists who flocked to a college campus for the daylong political carnival Paul’s narrow second-place finish pushed former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty down to third, leading Pawlenty on Sunday to abandon his effort to challenge President Barack Obama next November… [sic]

This blogger asks readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks above to read this enlightening story in detail.

Of interest to this blogger is the fact that only recently the campaign of Ron Paul was viewed as “outside the mainstream” by some commentators, but that view appears to be fading away. Meanwhile, Representative Ron Paul is not the only candidate to have apparently gained ground in the aftermath of the Ames Straw Poll as Representative Michele Bachmann, the winner of the poll, has seen something of a “boost in momentum” as of late. Although the campaign is far from over and an ultimate Republican nominee remains to be seen, the 2012 campaign is shaping up to be quite interesting and arguably unique from an historical perspective. This stated, there is little doubt that President Barack Obama will be a formidable adversary in the upcoming general election (as evidenced by his strong campaign in 2008). Therefore, those, like this blogger, who follow politics the way others may follow sports or favorite TV programs may find the 2012 campaign to be exciting indeed.

In the world of American politics it has often been said that “Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows”. This maxim is quite correct, but perhaps a variation on this theme is appropriate under the circumstances: “Budget Deficits Elicit Strange Solutions”. It recently came to this blogger’s attention that many American States and the District of Columbia are contemplating implementation of various forms of online gaming. To provide further details on these developments this blogger is compelled to quote directly from a recent article posted on the CNBC website, CNBC.com:

The District of Columbia is not thrilled that its residents are traveling to Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to gamble in casinos. Starved for cash, like states across the country, the district wants some of the millions in revenue that gambling generates each year.So district officials want residents to gamble closer to home — inside their homes, actually. Or in cafes, restaurants and bars. By year’s end the district hopes to introduce an Internet gambling hub that would allow Washington residents to play blackjack, poker and other casino-style games…It’s an idea gaining currency around the country: virtual gambling as part of the antidote to local budget woes. The District of Columbia is the first to legalize it, while Iowa is studying it, and bills are pending in places like California and Massachusetts. But the states may run into trouble with the Justice Department, which has been cracking down on all forms of Internet gambling…The states say they will put safeguards in place to deal with the potential social ills. And they say they need the money from online play, which will supplement the taxes they already receive from gambling at horse tracks, poker houses and brick-and-mortar casinos…

The administration of this web log asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this interesting article in its entirety.

Frequent readers of this web log may recall that the current federal restrictions imposed upon certain facets of online gaming are the result of the rather dubious legislative machinations surrounding the passage of the SAFE Port Act (sometimes referred to as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 or UIGEA). As a result of this legislation, some online gaming operators have been subjected to fines and/or sanctions (including the threat of incarceration) for allegedly illegal activity. Therefore, the possibility that States and federal jurisdictions may be contemplating online gaming as a possible source of revenue may come as a relief to some within this interesting and often misunderstood industry. In any event, hopefully arrangements can be made to provide a reasonably beneficial framework from both an operational and revenue generation perspective.

It should be noted that under most circumstances gambling is illegal in the Kingdom of Thailand.

For related information please see: Online Gaming Lawyers.

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23rd June 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that American federal legislators appear poised to introduce legislation aimed at legalizing marijuana in an intra-State context (although there do appear to be measures in place to deal with the possibility of inter-State smuggling and issues associated therewith). To provide better perspective on this issue it may be best to quote directly from Yahoo News Canada at Yahoo.com:

A group of US representatives plan to introduce legislation that will legalize marijuana and allow states to legislate its use, pro-marijuana groups said Wednesday. The legislation would limit the federal government’s role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or inter-state smuggling, and allow people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal. The bill, which is expected to be introduced on Thursday by Republican Representative Ron Paul and Democratic Representative Barney Frank, would be the first ever legislation designed to end the federal ban on marijuana. Sixteen of the 50 states as well as the District of Columbia have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes…

Readers are strongly encouraged to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to learn more about these developments. Readers are also prudent to note that as of the time of this writing, marijuana is either illegal or its usage is highly restricted in many jurisdictions around the globe. Those Americans interested in learning more about such matters are encouraged to contact a licensed attorney in their jurisdiction. Readers should further note that usage of marijuana is strictly prohibited in the Kingdom of Thailand.

These developments are interesting as it would appear that the real impetus behind this legislative move stems from what would appear to be a genuine bi-partisan desire on the part of legislators to find new sources of tax revenue at the State and federal levels while simultaneously relaxing restrictive regulations that diminish the civil liberties of the American Citizenry. Readers are asked to recall that Representative Barney Frank has been a proponent of a more permissive regulatory structure pertaining to online gaming. Meanwhile, Representative Ron Paul has been an ardent advocate for American civil, individual, and States’ Rights for a number of years. It will be interesting how this proposed legislation fares in the nation’s Congress.

Although seemingly unrelated to the developments in the United States, officials on the island of Taiwan have recently noted that there is to be a relaxation of restrictions placed upon tourists coming to that location from Mainland China. In order to place these developments in context it may be prudent to quote directly from the website News.com.au:

TAIWAN has lifted a decades-old ban on travel to the island by individual Chinese tourists, saying visitors would act as “peace ambassadors” for the former arch foe. The first batch of independent mainland tourists, from Beijing, Shanghai and the city of Xiamen on the southeast coast, were expected to arrive next Tuesday, local media reported. Travel between the island and mainland stopped at the end of the civil war in 1949, and mainland tourists have so far only been allowed to visit Taiwan in groups due to official concerns they might otherwise overstay their visas and work illegally…

The administration of this blog recommends that readers click upon the relevant hyperlinks above to learn more details on this developing story.

Clearly, intra-China tourism is likely to increase revenue and commerce for all concerned. As noted previously on this blog, China continues to show signs that there will be significant economic growth moving forward. It stands to reason that such growth may have beneficial consequences for other jurisdictions in the region as Chinese tourists travel to other locales and Chinese businesses trade and increase their presence in foreign venues. Hopefully these developments will be an economic boon to the Taiwanese economy.

For information related to pending legislation in the United States please see: Uniting American Families Act or Respect for Marriage Act.

For information related to legal services in Asia please see: Legal.

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27th March 2011

The administration of this blog has been monitoring the evolving situation in the United States of intrastate legislation among some of the sovereign 50 States to reform legal tender laws. There are some recent developments regarding this interesting and legally complex issue that could have ramifications for the global commodities markets, global business community, APEC, ASEAN, Thailand, and China. To quote directly from Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times, in a post on the TruthAlliance.net website entitled “Utah Senate Passes Gold/Silver Legal Tender Law; Awaits Governor Signature“:

The Utah Legislature on Thursday passed a bill allowing gold and silver coins to be used as legal tender in the state — and for the value of their precious metal, not just the face value of the coins.

In a previous posting on this blog it was noted that the lower chamber of Utah’s government, the Utah House of Representatives, had passed the legislation referred to above, but at that time there seemed to be little information pertaining to the reasoning behind the passage of such legislation. The article cited above is quite informative in its coverage of this unfolding situation. To quote further from the aforementioned article:

The legislation directs a state committee to look at whether Utah should recognize an official alternate form of legal tender which could become a path for creating a formal state gold standard.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Gary R. Herbert, a Republican, said he has not yet taken a public stance on the bill.

State Rep. Brad J. Galvez, the chief sponsor of the measure, said he views it as a preliminary step on the path toward securing Utah’s business climate.

“If the dollar continues to fall, what this will do will help stabilize the value of the dollar in Utah, so it helps stabilize the economy,” Mr. Galvez, a Republican, said.

While similar legislation has been proposed in nearly a dozen states, Mr. Galvez said that if Mr. Herbert signs his bill, Utah will be just the second state to official recognize the coins as legal tender. Colorado has recognized gold and silver for decades, he said.[sic]

Those reading this posting are encouraged to click on the hyperlinks above to read the text of this article in full.

Clearly, Utah is not the only American State that is taking monetary measures with an eye toward maintaining a comparative advantage in the national and international business markets along with a healthy State economy. It will be interesting to see what position will ultimately be taken by the Governor of Utah as his stance on the issue has yet to be discerned as of the time of the writing cited above. Issues involving the currency within States can have tremendous ramifications and it would appear that due consideration is being taken.

The article was also notable for this blogger as it elucidated a thought from a legislator in Virgina who is advocating for similar legislation in that State. To quote further from the article by Stephen Dinan:

In Virginia, Delegate Robert G. Marshall, a Republican, successfully pushed through a bill — not yet signed by the governor — that authorizes the state to mint gold, silver and platinum coins. He said that there is probably a good market for collectors who would prefer not to have to buy federally minted coins and said state-minted ones would create a backstop against inflation.

“I’m looking at Congress, and I’m looking at what the Chinese are doing, and I don’t have a lot of confidence in what’s going on there,” Mr. Marshall said. “This is one way where Virginia can help our citizens as a security hedge against the inflationary action of Congress.”

This was an interesting insight for this blogger because it provides hope that more legislators on the State level are looking abroad when formulating policies which are designed to have a direct impact upon the lives of State Citizens. Although the United States Federal government’s enumerated powers provide wide latitude in matters of an international character, some international trends can have a significant economic impact upon the economics of a purely intrastate nature. Therefore, in the world in which we now live even legislators at the State level must have an eye on the evolving business and economic dynamics of countries as far geographically afield as Thailand, China, or any of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Member states in order to make fully informed decisions regarding the enactment of legislation which could impact those within that legislature’s jurisdiction.

As noted in the quotation above, the Governor of Virginia has yet to sign the legislation pending in that State. Therefore, the ultimate outcome remains to be seen, but one thing remains clear: few lawmakers are taking this legislation lightly as evidenced by the alacrity of these legislatures’ votes and the taciturn position of these States’ respective Governors.

This issue is coming to the foreground of the national political spectrum at a time when the legal issues surrounding the issue of same sex marriage and interstate Full Faith and Credit Clause interpretation versus the Federal-State sovereign relationship in the context of same sex marriages legalized and solemnized pursuant to the laws of sovereign American States is coming to the attention of the United States Federal Appellate Courts in the form of cases which have the potential to directly contravene the provisions of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA). In an American Immigration context, Federal legislators such as Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York have continued to push legislation such as the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) which would allow the United States Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State to adjudicate petitions for same sex “permanent partners” of United States Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents in the same manner as different sex couples.  How the issues associated with legal tender reform and the issues associated with Full Faith and Credit for State recognized same sex marriages will be resolved remains to be seen, but clearly such issues will remain noteworthy as time goes on.

For information related to these issues please see: US Visa Thailand or Same Sex Visa.

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23rd December 2010

Those who frequently read this web log may have noticed that this author occasionally comments upon the progress of American gaming legislation as recent legislative enactments have greatly altered the online gaming landscape. Although this issue would not seem similar to that of LGBT rights at first blush, there are some commonalities from a legal perspective which were recently noted in an article written by April Gardner for the website casinogamblingweb.com. To quote directly from this article:

US lawmakers took the first step on Saturday towards giving all Americans the same rights and freedoms when the Senate voted to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Online poker players are hoping this was the first step towards full freedom, and that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act repeal may be next.

The repeal of the policy referred to as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” was a significant achievement for proponents of LGBT rights. That said, as noted in a previous posting on this blog, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) still continues to act as a barrier to equal immigration rights for same sex bi-national couples as well as LGBT bi-national couples. At one point, it was thought that the Defense of Marriage Act’s provisions might be circumvented in the context of US Immigration through enactment of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), but, alas, this legislation has yet to be enacted. Therefore, there are those who argue that there is still a long way to go in the fight for equal rights for the LGBT community. That said, the article went on to note:

The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law is one that Democrats have been pushing hard to repeal for several years. Another of those ill-advised laws on the radar for Liberals is the UIGEA. In recent weeks, Senator Harry Reid has proposed an online poker bill, but that legislation alone would not have overturned the UIGEA.

Although at first glance the UIGEA (the Unlawful  Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) and the policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would seem to be dissimilar in nature. In fact, these two issues touch upon a very significant issue which seems to be continuously debated in the United States. This issue transcends party ideology: personal freedom. The ability to freely, peaceably, and consensually associate with whomever one chooses is a fundamental right enshrined in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Many would argue that the law forbidding same sex bi-national couples, even those lawfully married in one of the 5 US States which currently solemnize same sex unions, from obtaining the same immigration rights as different sex couples is self-evidently a violation of the right to equal protection under American law. In this same vein, there are many who argue that Americans should have the ability to choose to participate in online gaming so long as they are above the lawful age to engage in such activity in their jurisdiction and the gaming operation is regulated so as to ensure that games are fair and the gaming operator is solvent. That said, the author of the aforementioned article seems pessimistic about the short term future of legislation designed to regulate and thereby legitimize online gaming:

It is unlikely that online gambling prohibition will be discussed in the closing days of the lame-duck session. For online poker players, however, they can take comfort in the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal.

The repeal shows that everything is worth the wait, as millions of gay and lesbians exhibited Saturday through tears of joy. It may take a little longer, but those tears of joy will eventually come for the millions of online gamblers in this country as well.

Truly, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” was a monumental step forward for advocates of Equal Rights, but the issue of online gaming remains both controversial and complicated in the USA as many different jurisdictional issues arise especially in the context of the internet and World Wide Web. Therefore, it remains to be seen what the US Congress will ultimately decide to do with regard to online gaming, but hopefully the eventual outcome will result in positive benefits for players, operators, and the United States economy as this sector could prove to be an area of job growth for the USA in the coming years.

For related information please see: Online Gaming Law or Same Sex Marriage Visa.

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15th December 2010

Those who read this blog may have taken note of previous postings which discussed recent events occurring in the realm of American online gaming regulation. Recently, this administrator read a posting on casinogamblingweb.com by Terry Goodwin. To quote directly from the posting:

[Senator Harry] Reid shocked many in the gaming industry late last week when he revealed that he was supporting a bill that would regulate online poker in the US. Each state would be able to opt out of the legislation, but clearly the goal for Reid was to help Nevada gaming companies with existing casinos.

Senator Reid’s support could prove to be essential to passage of online gaming regulation legislation. However, not all seem enthusiastic about Mr. Ried’s proposed legislation:

As the details of the bill have emerged, online players have become more weary of Reid’s motives. One of the more interesting stipulations surrounds the possibility that all online poker operators seeking a license would have to halt their services to US customers for a period of fifteen consecutive months once the legislation is finalized and passed.

The issue of gaming in general can be controversial in the United States and around the globe, but the issues surrounding online gaming bring to light all sorts of legal and policy issues as Larry Rutherford noted in his article also on casinogamblingweb.com:

University of Illinois Business Professor and longtime opponent of online gambling regulations in the US John Kindt has again made statements about the issue of late…

Apparently this professor advocates strongly against online gaming. Many opponents to gaming legislation cite the problems which can arise as a result of the spread of gaming. That said, Rutherford’s posting pointed out that online gaming is becoming increasingly prevalent:

Senator Harry Reid and Representative Barney Frank are both pursuing online gambling legislation that would regulate the industry. The lawmakers take the opposite position of Kindt, understanding that Internet gambling is already a big part of society in the US….

One facet of the online gaming debate that many feel is often overlooked in the overall discussion of the various aspects of the issue is the economic argument in favor of online gaming. As Rutherford’s piece went on to note further:

Online gambling would only help the economy recover with the thousands of jobs regulations would create. Millions of dollars in tax revenue that is currently going out of the US would also stay within the borders. Instead of paying companies in other countries, the millions of online gamblers would be pumping money into US-based companies that pay taxes and spend money in the country.

In addition to the revenue and jobs, online gambling regulations would also place spending limits on Internet gamblers, something that currently does not exist in full regulation. Problem gambling is addressed in Representative Frank’s online gambling bill, and almost certainly would be included in any legislation proposal by Senator Reid passed as an amendment to the tax cuts bill.

Although no one can foresee what the overall impact of this legislation could be. There are many who feel that properly regulated online gaming in the United States would be a significant benefit to the American economy as jobs would be created to deal with what appears to be substantial demand for services both directly and indirectly related to gaming.

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21st September 2010

Online gaming is an interesting phenomenon, from a legal perspective, as it has only been in existence for a relatively short period of time. Therefore, a great deal of legislation that addressed gaming issues of the past have been rendered obsolete while new technology allows for transactions and platforms that were not even thought of only 5 years ago. That said, there are some jurisdictions which have made the decision to allow online gaming in most forms pursuant to rather stringent regulation and official oversight. The United Kingdom is a prime example of this approach to dealing with online gaming. The UK has created a statutory scheme for regulating and overseeing legitimate gaming enterprises operating on land or over the internet and/or world wide web. In a recent article posted on the website CasinoPeople.com, it was noted that online gaming has become more popular in recent years:

While it is quite clear that online gambling has increased in popularity recently, the figures that came out of a study by Nielsen, an independent media measurement company, are somewhat surprising.

The study by Nielsen shows that online gambling in the United Kingdom has gone up by 40 percent in the last year. The numbers show that there have been about 3.2 million more people in Britain who have logged onto Internet gambling sites in the past year, than there were the year before. In the same time period, the number of additional visitors who accessed various social media sites such as Facebook, and others who offer similar services, only totaled 2.2 million.

There were a number of other interesting statistics that Nielsen published as part of their study of the United Kingdom online gambling world, such as the division of how many men and how many women take part in online gambling, and information regarding the ages of online gamblers, as well as the incomes of the online gamblers.

This author finds it interesting that while internet gaming sites saw over three million new registrants in the past year, the highly popular Facebook  service only saw a little over two million registrations. It should be noted that Facebook is a single website while the gaming website statistics cover multiple sites. This tends to show that gaming websites are not as monolithic in their appeal to consumers compared to some social media sites, but overall demand for online entertainment in the form of gaming seems to be high and steadily increasing. What was really interesting to this author was the fact that women appear to be significant players on online gaming platforms, at least in the UK:

It seems that around half of the online gamblers in the UK earn over £30,000 each year. Of all those gambling online in the United Kingdom, women make up 46 percent of the players. Hopefully for the women out there, this will give online gambling site more incentive to offer sites that appeal to women. While there are some of these sites out there, with the high percentage of female online gamblers, the market may be able to sustain even more of them.

Female players may pose interesting new challenges to online gaming websites as marketing strategies to attract such players would likely be different compared to the strategies employed to bring in new male players. It was encouraging to note that many of the players online come from a comfortable income bracket. That said, legitimate gaming operations ought to strive to eradicate problem gambling regardless of the income or assets of the players concerned.

Whether demand for online gaming in the UK will increase in the future remains to be seen. However, there are strong reasons to believe that demand can only increase as the world wide web continues to expand and new sites are added daily. Furthermore, new gaming markets may open up in the future which could result in an overall increase in global demand for such services.

For related information please see: online gaming lawyer.

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13th September 2010

Those who read this blog regularly may note that we usually focus on matters which have an impact upon American Federal law. As the Congressional Session is about to begin anew, this author found an interesting piece regarding the regulation of online gaming in the United States of America. Those who are unfamiliar with current American gaming law should note that while gaming itself is not illegal under US Federal law, the methods of transferring funds to online gaming websites is restricted pursuant to provisions of the UIGEA (the Unlawful  Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006). The ramifications of the UIGEA have yet to be fully explored as the law was passed in a rather unusual manner compared to legislation of a similar nature. Furthermore, some of the provisions of the law remain vague and regulations have yet to be fully implemented. This has lead to a rather precarious situation from a legal perspective. United States Congressional Representative Barney Frank has authored legislation aimed at allowing online gaming in a regulated environment. To quote a recent posting by Mr. Larry Rutherford on the website: casinogamblingweb.com: 

[T]he Congressional session in the US begins again in both the House and the Senate. One of the pieces of legislation that may be discussed is Representative Barney Frank’s online gambling bill. Online poker players and gamblers are urged to call their senators and representatives to support the bill.

Rep. Frank introduced HR 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act earlier this year. Before the recess of the House, the House Financial Services Committee passed Frank’s legislation. The next step will be to take the issue to the entire House, and then possibly on to the Senate.

For the process to get done in a timely manner, it is recommended that all online poker players, or anyone interested in seeing online gambling prohibition stopped, call their representatives in their jurisdiction. The more pressure that is put on these representatives, the better chance that Frank moves his bill along in the coming session.

To pass the law in the coming months is essential to the millions of Americans who currently engage in online gambling. In November, the political structure may change and Republicans may seize control of the House. If that occurs, it is likely that Rep. Frank would lose his Chair status in the House Finance Committee. Frank’s likely successor would be Rep. Spencer Bachus, one of online gambling regulation’s biggest opponents.

Proponents of regulated online gaming point to the numerous economic benefits which could be accrued through effective regulation of online gaming in the United States. This argument is ringing especially true in the USA as unemployment and other economic issues weigh heavily on lawmakers and the public at large. There are those who argue that regulated online gaming would create jobs and tax revenues for a Federal government that could use both. To quote the aforementioned posting further:

With only one month left before the mid-term elections, many analysts believe it is unlikely that Frank would move forward with the controversial issue leading up to the elections. Republicans could force Democrats into taking a position on Internet gambling, and then use that to gain leverage in many upcoming House battles.

Frank, however, may understand that if the climate changes and he is ousted as the Chairman of the Finance Committee, then the likelihood of gaining Internet gambling regulations will become slim. That fact alone may sway Frank to push hard for the regulations in the coming weeks.

It is unknown what the future holds for Frank’s bill, but one thing is certain, the millions of people who enjoy playing poker online need to be heard. CGW is encouraging everyone who wishes to have the online gambling laws changed in the US, to contact their representatives and senators in the coming days and have your voice heard.

This author does find logic in the argument that regulated online gaming may create major economic benefits for Americans and the Federal Treasury. That said, there are those who feel that it is unlikely that this legislation will be passed in this session of Congress. This Bill could have a significant impact on the American economy at a critical time, but there may not be enough political will to pass this legislation at this time. Online businesses continue to bring incredible opportunities to the United States of America. The internet is still a significant platform for all types of trade and commerce. This author can understand any government’s desire to regulate and monitor the activities of online gaming enterprises. However, the current state of affairs in the USA would seem to be virtually untenable from a legal standpoint as the law itself is somewhat vague on certain issues and enforcement of these rules could prove nearly impossible. Furthermore, there are multiple Constitutional issues which could be raised by those challenging the provisions of the UIGEA. Therefore, due to all of the uncertainty surrounding the online gaming industry in the USA, it may be time to promulgate rules which clearly and effectively regulate the US online gaming industry.

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