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U.S. government aims to limit online gambling


Seeks to limit transaction payments


U.S. consumers are spending too much money in illegal online gambling transactions, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, which is seeking to implement a new anti-gambling Internet law. 

This comes after Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act last year. The law prohibits payments made for illegal gambling through U.S.-based financial institutions, including payments made by credit cards, electronic funds transfers and personal checks. The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve System have just released new rules to banks, lending institutions and credit card companies that require them to implement policies to prevent processing of payments that are for illegal gambling transactions.

Unfortunately, the proposed new rule does not specifically indicate what constitutes illegal gambling activities or transactions because the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve System are federal institutions and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was written with enforcement to be provided under federal and state laws. And, given the popularity of online gambling, sports betting and gambling in general with the U.S. public, this bill seems destined to have many holes and exceptions to its enforcement, assuming it does not go down completely in flames first.

New legislation has already been introduced to provide loopholes to enforcement of the recent Congressional legislation.  A Massachusetts Representative has introduced legislation that would make it legal for residents living in the U.S. to gamble online.  Known as the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007, this bill would allow licensed companies to accept bets from U.S. residents to the extent permitted by individual states, Indian tribes and sports leagues. It would also exempt operators of gambling sites from restrictions on online gambling under the newly enacted Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, including the provision that prevents U.S. banks and credit card companies from processing payments to online gambling sites.

It kinds of makes you wonder why there is so much ado over an activity that obviously has widespread public support and that seems doomed to actual enforcement before it even has begun.

Read more here.

Last modified on 02 October 2007
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