October 26, 2009 (PAP Newswire) – The online gambling industry is becoming more and more resigned to the fact that politicians friendly to our cause aren’t going to be able to do much in terms of overturning the United States’ anti-online gambling laws — at least, not anytime particularly soon.
Meanwhile, the fallout from the law, which hasn’t even been fully implemented yet (that happens on the first of December), is growing daily. In addition to the recent bank account seizures in Maryland, the state of Ohio recently shut down a business offering access to Internet gambling, and arrested the two proprietors. This case echoes recent actions in Kansas. (Read about it here.)
More alarmingly, last week, 30 people were indicted by the U.S government in New York, Florida, Nevada and Panama (!) for “being part of a multimillion-dollar offshore betting operation” specializing in sports betting, reports the Southtown Star.
As with some other recent prosecutions, this one was attributed not to UIGEA but to the Wire Act of almost 50 years ago. “Though online betting certainly did not exist at the time the act was passed, it’s the transfer of money through a ‘wire communications facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers’ that puts online betting within the scope of the law,” the article states.
Prosecutors are now regarding the two anti-online gambling laws as complementary to one another. In other words, if online gambling can’t be busted under the UIGEA, it’s going to be busted under the Wire Act. “Ian McCaleb, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was enacted in 2006 to address online gambling more specifically, though it was considered illegal under previous criminal statutes,” the article explains.
Hope that the government will not fully enforce the UIGEA is all but gone. The full implementation of the bill isn’t even in place yet, and officials are apparently stepping up their actions. Until politicians are able to treat this issue with the priority it demands, it looks like this pattern may continue.