May 5, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — An increasing number of news stories published recently highlight the difficulties being created in other countries by the United States’ controversial UIGEA anti-gambling laws. Specifically, Canadian officials have complained about the law's unfortunate effects upon its online horse race wagering and lottery operations.
This conflict comes partially because of the UIGEA’s lack of clarity. The law does not allocate governmental resources for enforcement; instead, it charges financial institutions with the burden of deciding what is and isn’t a gambling transaction. (And considering the events of the past six months, it’s safe to say that the North American financial services industry has more pressing concerns than online gambling.)
During Canada's recent International Masters of Gaming Law Spring Conference, held April 28-30 in Windsor, Canada, Constance Ladell of the British Columbia Lottery offered some more specific criticism of the UIGEA.
"Our biggest challenge comes from south of the border and the UIGEA,” Ladell was quoted in RecentPoker.com. “We’ve got caught up in that and have suffered as a result of the UIGEA as well as the risk-averse nature of the payments industry."
Ladell expressed optimism, however, at Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank’s impending anti-UIGEA legislation.
“If Congressman Frank gets his way then that will help us, too,” she stated, adding that she was frustrated with governmental failure to license and regulate online gaming. “Ignoring the internet is like holding on to the notion that the world is flat,” she said.
Maggie McGee of the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation was also quoted on the issue of regulating online gambling: “The business imperative to do so is clear, yet no jurisdiction in North America regulates.”
Hopefully, continued international pressure to regulate online gambling will help Barney Frank's new bill, scheduled to be released into the U.S. Congress tomorrow. Combined with recent conflict with the EU over the perceived fairness of the law (read more on that topic here), the consensus of America’s most important trade partners seems to be overwhelmingly negative regarding the UIGEA.