UIGEA – Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (or UIGEA) became a law on OCtober 13, 2006. The Senate snuck in this UIGEA act with the Safe (Security and Accountability For Every) Port Act of 2006. The senate knew the SAFE port Act would pass, so in the midnight hours before the Safe Port Act was signed into a law, the Senate attached the UIGEA to the bill.
The UIGEA prohibits the transfer of funds from a financial institution to an Internet gambling site. the notable exceptions are fantasy sports, online lotteries, and horse racing. The Poker Players Alliance (pokerplayersalliance.org) has been trying to get this law reversed. They have also been trying to get the game of poker defined as a skill game, instead of a game of chance (gambling). The Poker Players Alliance (aka PPA) believe that if poker is defined as a skill game, than online poker will not be affected by the UIGEA.
Obviously the UIGEA is failing and the government needs to make a change. The banks have complained that this is an impossible law to enforce, and if it was possible, they don’t have the time or manpower to do it. The only thing the UIGEA has done, is block a lot of credit cards from allowing deposits to online gambling sites.
From a substantive legal perspective, the UIGEA is somewhat meaningless. The real world affect will only be on the larger operators of poker rooms. One thing is for sure; the UIGEA has not banned online gambling.
For more Information about the UIGEA, please check out these resources: