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UIGEA Delay Confirmed

November 28, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — Early reports that the U.S. government is delaying plans to enforce the UIGEA — or Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, the law making online gambling illegal in the U.S. — have been confirmed by all the major news sources.

It’s being widely speculated that this delay is meant to give legislators like Barney Frank more time on their plans to dismantle the ban and create a new system of regulation for most forms of online gambling, especially Internet poker, thereby making the games fully legal. This is a good sign that the U.S. government’s executive branch is on board with reversing the disastrous ban, originally passed in 2006 but not yet fully implemented (it was to become full law within days.)

“In a joint statement, the Treasury and Fed said the December 1 implementation date for the law passed in 2006 would not be achievable for some financial institutions,” reports Reuters. “They set a new compliance deadline of June 1, 2010.”

Reuters also that the statement admits that “certain members of Congress have ‘expressed an intent to consider legislation that would allow problematic aspects of the act to be addressed’.” Read the Reuters report here.

"This will give us a chance to act in an unhurried manner on my legislation to undo this regulatory excess by the Bush administration and to undo this ill-advised law," Barney Frank said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. Read that article here.

Demonstrating their flair for PR, the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative has praised President Obama directly for the action. (It's correct to attribute the action to Obama's administration, but the president himself likely had nothing to do with it.)
"We see this move by the Obama Administration as a decision to halt implementation of UIGEA in order to give Congress time to enact an alternative approach of regulating Internet gambling instead of prohibiting it," Michael Waxman, the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative’s spokesperson, said in the release.

"This decision is the latest evidence that momentum is building for a shift in policy and a rewrite of U.S. Internet gambling laws to provide for regulation and taxation instead of prohibition. Over the next six months, Congress should act to create a framework that regulates Internet gambling to protect consumers and collect billions in much-needed revenue for critical federal and state government programs." Read the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative’s press release here.

The UIGEA is now scheduled to go into effect six months from now, on June 1, 2010 … unless the U.S. Congress can find a way to come up with a better plan.