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U.S. Online Gambling Legal Update

February 5, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – The political leadership in the United States continues to struggle with the idea of online gambling. Although certain key figures are pushing strongly for a repeal of the UIGEA, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 that attempts to outlaw online casinos, there’s still a powerful group of lawmakers who want online gambling to stay off-limits for American citizens.

Although the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is, on the surface, more lenient with the online gambling issue than its predecessor, officials are still legally targeting online gambling financial activity.

Earlier this week, a U.S. appeals court upheld a contempt citation against two Canadian companies accused of financial transactions with U.S. online gambling interests — which the UIGEA expressly forbids. If current lawmakers are more willing to ignore online gambling than the Bush administration — which would seem to be the case given the six-month delay of the UIGEA — then why do they continue to prosecute cases like this?

“It may just be that the government can get revenue from online gambling operators without regulating the industry,” speculates Larry Rutherford at Casino Gambling Web. Read his article here.

The movement to legalize online gambling goes beyond lawmakers. iGaming Business reports that lobbying from the Internet casino industry to overturn UIGEA increased by 50 percent in 2009’s fourth quarter, as compared to last year. And it seems that most of that money, $2.41 million, has come from Harrah’s Entertainment Incorporated, an enormous land-based casino corporation that’s seeking to get into the online casino business itself. Read the iGaming Business article here.

This push and pull between supporters and opponents of UIGEA has been going on for years, and it’s much too early to tell who’ll win. But at least the issue is far from dead, and it’s ultimately a positive factor that it’s remaining in the headlines.