iMEGA Crosses Swords Again with DOJ over UIGEA (Update)
March 4, 2009 (InfoPowa News) — It appears that U.S. Department of Justice officials are uncomfortable with a move by the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) to highlight UIGEA disruptions of state lotteries in its litigation against the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
iMEGA, which wants to overturn the UIGEA as unconstitutional, has announced that the DoJ has opposed its request to supplement its submission to the court with details of the unwarranted "over-blocking" disruptions caused to state lotteries by confused and overworked financial bodies expected to enforce the flawed law. iMEGA had earlier sought to include details of difficulties with online deposits being experienced by the New Hampshire and North Dakota state lotteries.
Apparently reclassifications of lottery purchases by credit card companies caused many transactions to be denied.
Last week, the Associated Press also covered the difficulties in an article on Illinois proposals to take its lottery online, observing that there were problems with " … card companies classifying the subscriptions as a gambling purchase instead of a government service, triggering additional fees and red tape for customers."
Giving some background to the request to suppement, iMEGA Chairman Joe Brennan told Poker News Daily in an interview that, as a matter of professional courtesy, it is customary to ask the other party involved in a legal suit before adding material to the record. He advised that Nicholas Bagley, Attorney for the Civil Division of the DOJ, told iMEGA on Monday that the U.S. Government would not give its consent for the additions, and consequently iMEGA would have to file a motion to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
"It’s ridiculous because this deals with the real-world impact of the UIGEA," said Brennan. "I’m not surprised, though, because this inclusion makes our case for us. Visa and MasterCard have, in their new operating rules, stated that they’re going to over-block lottery transactions even though there is a carve-out in the UIGEA for state lotteries.”
Brennan also revealed the current state of play in the state of Kentucky appeal against a court ruling throwing out its attempt to seize and confiscate 141 online gambling domains (see previous reports). iMEGA is a principal participant in this case, too, fighting for the rights of the domain owners.
The state of Kentucky's legal representatives filed a 64-page brief with the state Supreme Court, requesting permission to go over the customary limit of 50 pages, or be granted 10 more days to pare down their submission to the accetable length. The court's ruling on this technicality is awaited.
Brennan commented, “This gives us more time to pull [their] brief apart until the Court rules on it.”