The US treasury had specified rules and regulations needed for the execution of ‘Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act or UIGEA. The Act was passed by Congress in 2006 and aimed to eliminate all poker transactions conducted through the US banking system.
Surprisingly, UIGEA was deceivingly combined with ‘guaranteed to pass’ Ports bill by many Republican lawmakers in order to maintain the capacity of US based online casinos to enter gaming industry at some point in time. Yet some of the lawmakers defended themselves with their act upon ethical and moral reasons with the proposed bill. But their intentions could be read clearly as there were many carve-outs for interstate lotteries, horse racing and many fantasy sports websites available online.
Consequently, UIGEA legislation which was made in haste failed to pinpoint the illegal gambling transactions as well as the companies which were to be declared illegal. Such type of loopholes and blunders made it impossible for the banking system to speculate the correct and proper implementation of UIGEA and thus the execution of UIGEA was further delayed. The government under Bush had tried to implement UIGEA with the proper rules and regulation as set by the US Treasury Department. The Republican Party had strongly pushed for the implementation of UIGEA before leaving office against the legalization of poker and gambling in USA.
Unluckily, with the passing of UIGEA many foreign online casino and poker companies were forced to ban the entry of US citizens into their websites. The reason was that they were constantly threatened with sanctions imposed by US Department of Justice if they went against the law.
Due to fear of damage and retribution their public images, the companies were force to leave the US market and many lawsuits followed afterwards. Till today many states like Antigua and Barbados have set litigations against World Trade Organization over the impact of UIGEA on their businesses. The real issue is the major control of US government over the internet and oversea commerce, as the companies are based outside USA in the respective countries
Fate of UIGEA
The US Treasury department had authorized the US Banking system for the implementation of UIGEA with its rules and regulations. But the banking system remained unclear about the rules: it could not distinguish between legal and illegal bank gambling transactions. Thus, it’s in the learning process in order to prohibit those gambling transactions which could prove disastrous for the legalized gambling games like horse racing.
Seeing the poor global financial health of banking system, the banks have become stricter on implementation of UIGEA with its rules in order to prevent gambling transactions from taking place. Yet there are many groups which are against the implementation and wished to continue with their stance till end of the present government. President Obama likes to gamble and is open towards legalization of poker and gambling online. This would certainly help poker industry and result in tax returns for the government.