UIGEA - Unlawful Internet gambling enforcement act

Legal Gambling > UIGEA

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act - colloquially known as the UIGEA - passed back in 2006. This law came with many implications and consequences, and ultimately, in our opinion, did much more harm than good. While the bill had good intentions, the execution and wording of it, as well as the method through which it was passed, was misguided. The UIGEA did not actually ban online gambling, but it essentially made it more difficult to partake in the games. This is equal to laws that make doing something so unreasonable or difficult to do that people would stop doing it. The one exception is the tenacity of online gamblers, which has prevented the industry from shutting down.

In 2006, the SAFE Port Act was signed into law. One title within the act, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act "prohibits gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law." This vaguely ambiguous law essentially made it illegal for payment processors and financial institutions from processing payments related to online gambling, and also codified laws against establishing online gambling websites in the United States. This essentially forced online gambling operators to do what they already were doing - get out of the United States and operate off shore. Some had ceased accepting American players, some had even faced prosecution. Payment processors, however, took the brunt of the trouble.

The UIGEA ultimately had very little effect. In reality, it was a scare tactic and a temporary inconvenience. People it had very little effect on people actually gambling online. What it is actually doing is costing tax payers money through a variety of methods. First off, all of those investigations into "illegal" online gambling operations costs money - more than six figures in some cases. Then there is the hassle of going through the court system, which will ultimately cost even more money. Add this in with the money that isn't being generated through online gambling and the fact that the World Trade Organization has actually filed a complaint against the USA, and what you have is a slew of reasons why the UIGEA is complete pants.

Thankfully the UIGEA is not set in stone. There are several legislators that are attempting to overturn this draconian law, and you can actually help. All you have to do is contact your representative or senator and you can begin pushing for the UIGEA's repeal. With any luck we should be able to get this waste of time and money tossed out and replaced with something that is on the whole much more accommodating.

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