Online Bingo and the US Law for Gaming

The UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act) has received wide publicity and attention especially through the gaming community. Some have viewed the act as a wholly good thing whereas others have described it to be similar to that of prohibition of the 1920’s and an infringement of civil rights. Depending on what stance you take it does seem slightly hypocritical that gambling cities such as Las Vegas or Atlanta are so popular but online bingo is considered to be a moral issue.

There have been many lobbyists against the law and many that have argued that the law has too many inconsistencies within it. A major campaigner against the law has always been Barney Frank who only last week managed to push through HR 6870 – the Payments System Protection Act which calls for the suspension of the UIGEA. Congressman Frank wishes to see the return of online bingo for US citizens as in his mind it will allow a very large financial industry to be regulated in the US. Many operators are offshore and Frank believes that legalization for US citizens would be a march in the right direction.

The HR 6870 was passed 30 votes to 19 which means that it will be sent to congress in 2009 for further discussion and voting. Internet Gambling regulation has also taken a forward step with Congressman Ron Paul who also lobbying behind the legalization and legislation of lawful online bingo with the US. What can also be noted is that of the 19 voters who said no to the bill many of up for reelection soon and consequently this number will likely to decrease. The UIGEA architect Jim Leach even when it was launched in 2006 expressed his anger at the watered down version of the bill, which has left many unclear about its actual legal ramifications and power.

After the vote Barney Frank can be quoted as saying the following: “This is one more affirmation that lack of regulation has caused serious problems. The private market screwed itself up and needs the government to come help unscrew it.”

What is certain is that the future of the UIGEA is unclear and may have to be either altered or scrapped. What is still uncertain is however the degree of regulation that will occur in the US for online bingo. For the moment the law still stands which makes using credit cards illegal on online bingo sites. Several institutions and market operators have been charged or pulled out of the market all together. The future of online bingo may have a lot to do with the outcome of the presidential elections that are up and coming. It is widely hoped by the online bingo community that Senator Barrack Obama wins the presidential race as it is believed this will pave the way for a re look at the UIGEA and its implementation.

Taken from

By Simon Lucas