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Online Gambling Opponent Stops Political Block

February 17, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – One of the U.S. Congress’ most vocal supporters of the UIGEA (the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which attempts to outlaw online gambling in the United States) has dropped his political block of some two dozen Department of Treasury nominees.

Widespread speculation was that Republican Senator Jon Kyl had been blocking the nominations because of his objections to the delay of the implementation of the UIGEA by six months.

His change of heart seems to come not because Kyl’s anti-online gambling objections have been appeased, but because of threats from President Obama that, if left unconfirmed, he would simply appoint the nominations when the Senate went on recess.

“Mr. Obama and Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, had warned this week that the president might use the weeklong holiday break to make recess appointments, a threat underscoring his frustration with months of delays in confirming some key nominees,” writes Kate Phillips at the New York Times. Read that article here.

Earl Burton at Poker News Daily has written a brief history of Kyl’s attitudes towards online gambling. “Kyl has maintained his objections to online gaming since he was elected Senator from Arizona in 1994. Prior to 2006, Kyl frequently introduced legislation that would make it a criminal act to participate in online gambling and poker. While his efforts were never passed into law, in 2006 he was one of the chief proponents of a bill introduced by fellow Republican Representative Jim Leach of Iowa to make it illegal for financial institutions to process online gaming transactions. That bill would become the UIGEA and was passed as a rider on a critical piece of national security legislation in a final late night session in September 2006.” Read the full article here.

Senator Kyl, who is one of the Senate’s more influential politicians, does indeed seem to be one of the biggest roadblocks to legalized online gambling in the U.S. Online gaming affiliates concerned with the U.S. legal situation should know who the opposition is; in this case, Kyl is not shy in making his anti-online gambling feelings known.