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Online Sports Betting Industry Can Only Watch as Sports Season Heats Up

May 20, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — The new drive to overturn, or at least limit, the U.S.'s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 seems to have left out the sportsbetting industry, according to a story published last week. This is most likely because online sportsbetting is highest on the list of targets of noted online gambling opponents like the NFL and other professional sporting leagues, so removing sportsbetting from the bill is a way to help ensure an easier route to passage.

It’s too bad, though, considering that, with football finals heating up in Australia and Europe, and basketball and hockey finals underway in the U.S., this is one of the hottest times of the year for sports betting. Plus, early 2010 brings the FIFA World Cup, so it’s to be hoped that sportsbetting makes some legal headway before then. Though the World Cup is much more popular in Europe, Asia, and South America than in the U.S., its popularity has been steadily growing stateside, as well.

Unfortunately, Barney Frank’s new bill makes it fairly clear that online sportsbetting is not among the activities it is seeking to legalize. (Read more about that here.) All the same, if the industry hopes to get its activities fully legalized, Frank’s bill can still serve as an important start. But it’s going to require a lot more effort than what we’re seeing now.

If Frank’s bill passes, online poker and other forms of online gambling (such as slots) are much more likely to be legalized than online sports wagering. Still, it’s all the same fight at essence, and the online wagering industry should do all it can to ensure it’s not in this same helpless position during the sports finals season next year, when the World Cup (and the enormous profits that can go along with it) will be added to the mix.