As we all know, the Port Security Bill signed on Oct. 13th, 2006 containing the written-over-night Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) has made it sufficiently illegal to gamble over the internet. While internet gambling itself is not against the law, all aspects of transferring the funds to do so is now deemed illegal. But alas, a ray of hope is shining through the darkened corridors of online gambling.
Since elections, Democratic leaders have overwhelmingly taken control of the house majority. There was much to be said about this at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas. Many people now believe it is possible the UIGEA can and will be overturned, legalizing internet gambling, as well as internet gambling facilities, within the United States.
Terry Lanni, CEO of MGM Mirage, called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act “ridiculous”. He spoke to gambling industry officials at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, saying, “It makes no sense whatsoever. Prohibition didn’t work, this isn’t going to work.” Lanni went on to say, “We think [Internet gambling] can be taxed, we think it can be regulated, we think it can be licensed. With the new leadership, with the Democrats winning the House and the Senate, we think we’re going to have a much better opportunity to do that.”
“I have said on many occasions that I don’t believe in Internet gambling,” Reid said in a meeting with reporters, adding he’d be open to looking at the results of a study on it.
It was thought possible that the promotion of Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), to majority leader might aid in legalizing internet gambling, but Reid specified Wednesday, “I have said on many occasions that I don’t believe in internet gambling”.
However, Reid added that while he has doubts as to whether internet gambling can truly be controlled, “…I’ll be happy to look at the study. I’m not going to turn my head and say never, never.”
The American Gaming Association (AGA) board of directors will meet December 6th, said President Frank Fahrenkopf, “to support legislation in the new Congress calling for an independent study of Internet gambling to see if it can be properly regulated, controlled, taxed and licensed here in the United States.” Fahrenkopf remarked further, “My guess is that they are going to say let’s go ahead and do it.”
Previously proposed studies on internet gaming were to be conducted by a congressional commission. Fahrenkopf noted that if the AGA votes to study internet gambling, it would prefer an independent commission, such as the National Academy of Sciences. This would keep lobbyists from having any influence on the results, or the manner in which the study is conducted.
In May, Jon Porter and Shelly Berkley, Nevada Representatives, presented a bill to create a Congressional Commission to study internet gaming. Though the bill died, we happily report that both Porter and Berkley were re-elected on Novemeber 7th. With the house shifting into the Democratic corner, support is much more likely to be found.
Michael Bolcerek, President of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), had this to say, “Our members and other poker players went to the polls. They influenced the federal election. In the next 12 months, we’re confident that we’ll get a study commission bill. We think an exemption [for online poker] is in order, as well.”
Twelve months may seem like a long time, but at least there is an effort being made, politicians backing our views, and more influential support than ever. If you thought it futile before, now is definitely the time to get the message out. Once again you are urged to write your local representatives and congressmen. The more we let them know what we want, the more they will push the issue. Internet Gambling does not have to be a thing of the past. Let’s work together to help make it a thing of the future!