What is the UIGEA?
The UIGEA, also known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 is United States legislation. Adopted in 2006 amid dreams of regulating online gambling and thwarting underage gambling. The UIGEA has had almost 2 full years to prove its worth, which it has not done. Underage gambling is as rampant as ever. Instead instead of saving money, the piece of legislation often billed as being one of the “worst written sections of the US Code, has punched several new holes into the federal budget.
If you’re thinking about the money the US had to pay as damages to Antigua, forget about it. That’s small change compared to what it’ll cost to turn the banking industry into a law-enforcement agency. Something that the UIGEA requires although it doesn’t go into specifics on the matter to make things more interesting for those concerned). Another huge failure that can also be jotted up to the UIGEA is that it has essentially made online gambling more of a hazard for those still playing (and believe me there are plenty of US players still involved).
Effects of the UIGEA on Gambling in the USA
By scaring online gambling companies off, the UIGEA has effectively made it impossible for US players to seek justice in case they get sucked into a scam. Take the Ultimate Bet poker cheating scandal for instance. Ultimate Bet has dragged on the investigation for years with no likely conclusion in sight. They may as well sweep the whole thing under the rug. There would be no authority that could effectively intervene to hold them responsible.
The UIGEA is also causing problems for the Banking industry in terms of compliance. In view of the limited benefits it provides, the pressure is mounting towards having it repealed.
After the Main Event of the 2008 WSOP began with a speech on how opposition to the bill is growing within Congress. The UIGEA has been the target of a steady flow of bigger and smaller jabs.
Congressman James McDermott introduced a bill which seeks to turn online gambling and poker into a source of revenue for the federal budget. It sets the amount which can be potentially acquired this way to $8- 42 billion. Money money which would be spent on foster-program participants. Also the reeducation of the workforce which is the hardest hit by the unfavorable economic conditions.
The bottom line is that more and more people want the UIGEA repealed. It is the most ambiguous and difficult to decipher gambling law ever to be passed in the USA.