Are you one of the thousands of online gamblers who have tried to withdraw their winnings, only to find out that the US government has frozen the accounts of online gambling sites? This is the irony of Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, called the UIGEA for short; people who are injured are those who owe money, and are technically not breaking the law!
If you are not familiar with the UIGEA, let’s go back the way it is enforced. House and Senate voted and passed the Security and Accountability For Every Port (SAFE Port Act) without the UIGEA included. Later in the Conference Report, the UIGEA was added. House and Senate voted to pass the Conference Report – without ever hear it read. President Bush signed the law and it was a real shock worldwide Internet gambling on the next day.
But it’s not just Americans who have been in an uproar. The European Commission and the World Trade Organization made a noise too. They claim that the US violated international trade law by passing the UIGEA because of the way the law attempts to prevent online gambling. It does not make gambling illegal – it makes it illegal to transfer funds to Internet gambling sites from US financial institutions. So of course if you can not add money to your account, you can not gamble!
Now, however, there seems to be a change songs in Washington. President Obama has made clear that he wants the United States to begin working casino online with our international neighbors again, and he plans to start with the United Nations. While there is no clear signal from the President to legalize online gambling, this new attitude is encouraging. And there are some very loud signals from members of Congress in favor of legalizing online gambling.
Two pieces of legislation have been introduced lately that would restore joy to US online gamblers everywhere. One is from Representative Barney Frank, who will try, once again, to overturn the UIGEA. The reason not to do with the US abide by international agreements – on the contrary, he believes Americans should have the right to gamble online for money if they choose to do so. He sees it as individual rights and privacy issues over international relations.
The proposed legislation more came from Senator Robert Menendez. scope is slightly narrower than Franks. Menendez wants to legalize online poker rather than all online gambling. This could be a strategy to feed legalization of gambling piece-meal with other members of Congress, but we have to wait and see.
The good news is that rumbling in Congress, coupled with Obama’s attitude that we must honor our commitment to the world community, it means that we will soon see a change in the international gambling laws. Until then, may your winnings safe from government froze!
Jean Asta is a full time writer and management analyst for clients on several continents. He has produced thousands of articles, ebooks, and operational reports for clients. He’s been playing poker since he was four years old, and his coat is still showing first ‘jackpot’ (of money) that he won in a family tournament. Now feature writer for Casino-Affairs.com, an online casino [http://www.casino-affairs.com] guide.