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Posts Tagged ‘UIGEA’

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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18th April 2011

The War On Poker?

Posted by : admin

On what could be described as a sad day for civil liberties in the United States it was recently noted that America is in something of a figurative de facto state of war upon the internet manifestation of the game of Poker. To quote directly from what would appear to be a Daily Mail article posted on the website ThisIsMoney.co.uk:

Three of the largest online poker sites were taken over by the FBI on Friday in the probe that could bring about the death of the internet gambling industry. Websites Full Title Poker, Absolute Poker and PokerStars were all shut down and replaced with warning messages. Their owners were charged with bank fraud and money laundering.

The administration of this blog strongly encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks above in order to read the full story in order to gain perspective on this interesting issue. Meanwhile, it would appear as though not all of the Poker rooms noted above are taking the situation “lying down” as was noted by B. Solomon in an interesting article on the website OnlinePoker.net:

Focusing on the situation at Full Tilt, CEO Raymond Bitar and employee Nelson Burtnick now face charges of bank fraud and money laundering but have yet to be arrested as they are based outside of the USA. Wisely, the company moved from Los Angeles to Dublin, Ireland in 2006 after the UIGEA was introduced to the US. In the meantime, Full Tilt Poker was quick to respond to some of the accusations levelled at it and a company statement read:

“Mr. Bitar and Full Tilt Poker believe online poker is legal, a position also taken by some of the best legal minds in the United States.” Raymond Bitar, 39, then added, “I am surprised and disappointed by the government’s decision to bring these charges. I look forward to Mr. Burtnick’s and my exoneration.”

The acronym UIGEA noted above is used to condense the name of the provisions of the so-called SAFE Port Act‘s section which was, at one time prior to enactment, referred to as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. There remains a great deal of controversy surrounding the UIGEA provisions of the SAFE Port Act especially as the addition of the UIGEA language occurred through what could be described as legislative chicanery. In order to better shed light upon this issue it may be best to quote directly from Wikipedia:

The Act was passed on the last day before Congress adjourned for the 2006 elections. Though a bill with the gambling wording was previously debated and passed by the House of Representatives,[6][7][8] the SAFE Port Act (H.R. 4954) as passed by the House on May 4th (by a vote of 421-2) and the United States Senate on September 14th (98-0),[9] bore no traces of the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act that was included in the SAFE Port Act signed into law by George W. Bush on October 13th, 2006.[10] The UIGEA was added in Conference Report 109-711 (submitted at 9:29pm on September 29, 2006), which was passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 409-2 and by the Senate by unanimous consent on September 30, 2006. Due to H.RES.1064, the reading of this conference report was waived.

Clearly, the passage of the amended version of the SAFE Port Act was accomplished via a rather circuitous legislative route. Meanwhile, the enforcement of this Act’s provisions have been noted by some to have had a massive impact upon both the online gaming industry as well as other industries whose business models dovetail those of many online gaming endeavors.

How this whole situation will ultimately play out remains anyone’s guess, but there is little doubt that legal matters pertaining to online gaming are likely to be at the forefront of many judicial dockets in the upcoming months.

As a former licensed poker dealer himself, this blogger is somewhat saddened to hear this news as the game of Poker, both in its real-world and online forms, is a favorite pastime of many players both in the United States of America and around the world.

For related information please see: Online Gaming Lawyers.

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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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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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