The US Congress passed The Safe Port Act that also included the “Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006” (UIGEA) that aims to make it illegal for US banks to process transactions related to online gaming. The bill was signed into law by President Bush on October 13 and several big name UK companies instantly lost the majority of their income.
The bill was clearly politically motivated by Republicans who are worried about losing control in the House after the November election. House Republican leaders announced that this bill would be part of a 10-part “American Values Agenda,” which consists of 10 unrelated pieces of legislation, including a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage, tax cuts, a flag burning law, and extensive restrictions on stem cell research. Furthermore, this is a way our legislators can separate themselves from the now-disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who lobbied against previous versions of this bill using bribes, fraud, and hundreds of thousands of dollars to assist in the bill’s defeat.
The democratic take over of the House and Senate may be the best thing that could have happened to the internet gambling community since the UIGEA passed. Especially considering the particular Democrats who took seats from Republicans.
Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank, who is expected to chair the Financial Services Committee, has a libertarian approach to gambling and does not believe that the U.S. should be telling people how to spend their money.
Most Americans do not know that debate was not allowed on this bill. Amendments were not allowed, the Act/deal was made behind closed doors and only a very select few people were in on it. Well, as millions of Americans head to their computers for a little safe and legal online gaming some weekend expect them to discover what has gone on behind their backs.
Probably, the first time they ever tried to play online they were shocked to find that their credit cards disallowed the transaction. This shock would inevitably have been followed by a call to their bank to ask why they were not allowed to use their own money where they wanted. The response they would typically get would simply be, we do not allow transactions of this type. More shock and awe. That a bank that they trust to keep their personal and hard earned money safe, will not allow them to spend it the way they want.
We can read such messages on index pages of gambling sites: “Dear Valued Player, As a result of the recent internet gaming bill in the USA, the Casino Golden Palace Online partner sites will no longer allow gaming by USA residents.” ( Casino Golden Palace http://www.grandwinnerscasino.com or Poker Sites http://www.poker.grandwinnerscasino.com )
According to a recent report published by cyber security pitchman, Scansafe Ltd., US citizens are continuing to bet online despite the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Unquestionably, U.S. players now land fewer options for making deposits at online casinos. Following the decision by Neteller to stop doing business in U.S. other price processors have begun backing out of the market (there is Click2Pay, and Payspark, and InstaDebit, Wire Transfers, and, well, there are a good deal of other options that can be used to deposit fund directly into gaming accounts). However, start up companies are already beginning to fill the lack, and U.S. gamblers are finding a way around the attempted roadblocks set in place by the DOJ.