The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006: You better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone

I was a little concerned about the recent anti-gambling legislation that was passed by Congress on Friday, Sept. 29th.  But I didn’t think that it would have any serious impact on me, at least not for a while.  I have changed my mind and think the situation may warrant some serious concern about the fate of online poker after reading an October post by Bill Rini and receiving the following letter.

Due to the imminent passing of the Federal Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act on September 30th 2006, we are no longer accepting wagers from residents in the United States. We regret to inform you that from 11am EST on 3rd October, 2006, we will be closing all your gaming accounts.

Your balance, minus any uncleared bonuses, will be refunded to you by check within the next 3 to 4 weeks.

As the world’s oldest and most respected online casino we very much hope in the months to come that the USA will see fit to license and regulate online gaming so that we can once again offer our services to you.

We apologize for any inconvenience and express our sincere thanks for your patronage.

Since InterPoker, along with 888 and other poker rooms, are immediately suspending their US poker operations, I have reason to believe that the situation for online poker in the US is not sanguine.  EVERYBODY PANIC!

9 thoughts on “The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006: You better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone

  1. There is hope! It appears that outlawing online gambling violates the US agreements with the WTO. We better get a Democrat in office soon.

    You can sign the petition on my site

  2. I hope you’re correct about the violation. Not sure that Democrats will be any better.

    I will go to your site and check out the petition. Thanks

  3. As I understand the bill, which could well be wrongly, it only forbids US banks from sending monies to the companies. Therefore, all you need to do is wire the money via some third party like NetTeller or firepay.

  4. I hope you’re correct. But I have my doubts. I believe that you may not be able to transfer money to places like Neteller. My reason for saying this is based on a post from Bill Rini’s blog, where he writes the following:

    “The guys who are going to feel the pinch the hardest seem to be the Neteller’s and online casinos.

    It’s likely that during the 270 days that have been given to implement the financial side of the law, that some of the provisions may be impossible to satisfy. EFT’s are the main target as credit cards already code transactions which is why you can’t use your credit card to get money onto a casino site. Rolling out a new EFT protocol would take years to implement. First they need to figure out what changes to make and how to make them to the existing protocol and then they need to go and modify the software that handles EFT’s. Since there haven’t been many previous changes to the EFT protocol it’s likely that most banks haven’t even touched or looked at that code in decades meaning it will be difficult to just roll this change out across the entire US. Plus, and I’m a little fuzzy on this part, it may require international banks that deal with the US to change their EFT protocols as well. Suffice it to say that it won’t be trivial.”

  5. Judging by the reactions of the sportsbooks and poker companies, the bill is as disastrous as you say. Nonetheless, it is not yet law and even if it becomes law, could be reversed.

    I have to disagree with you that the Democrats would not be better. Internet gambling is only an issue for social conservatives and they are wholly aligned, with no significant exceptions, with the Republican party.

  6. I hope you’re right. Do you know how many Democrats voted for the bill? I thought only about 90 people voted against it. I’d bet that most of them were Democrats. But I don’t know.

  7. Well,its the Senate that passed it so I’m sure there weren’t 90 votes against it but, more importantly, it was sleezily attached to a port security bill at the last minute, without any debate at all, by Frist. Whoever voted against or for the bill was likely doing so because of the port security main course, not the internet gambling garnish.

  8. My mistake. I was thinking about July when it was passed in Congress. I believe only 93 voted against it then. It wasn’t attached to a port security bill then. Right?

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