A Review of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006

A Review of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006
Since the dreaded Black Friday and the seizure of top online poker sites by the US Department of Justice, online gamblers have once again questioned whether or not gambling is illegal.

Let's start by looking in part at the bill that was passed on September 30th 2006:


The Act prohibits gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law (termed “restricted transactions” in the Act). The Act also requires Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board (in consultation with the U.S. Attorney General) to promulgate regulations requiring certain participants in payment systems that could be used for unlawful Internet gambling to have policies and procedures reasonably designed to identify and block or otherwise prevent or prohibit the processing of restricted transactions. These regulations are independent of any other regulatory framework, such as the Bank Secrecy Act or consumer protection regulations.

A joint rule has been issued by Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board that designates five payment systems as covered by the Act. The designated payment systems are (i) automated clearing house (ACH) systems, (ii) card systems, (iii) check collection systems, (iv) money transmitting businesses, and (v) wire transfer systems.

The rule requires certain participants in the designated payment systems to establish policies and procedures that are reasonably designed to identify and block or otherwise prevent or prohibit restricted transactions. A “participant” is defined as “an operator of a designated payment system, a financial transaction provider that is a member of or, has contracted for financial transaction services with, or is otherwise participating in, a designated payment system, or a third-party processor.” The term “participant” does not include a participant's customer unless the customer is also a financial transaction provider participating on its own behalf in the designated payment system.

So what does it all mean? The same thing it meant when the ban was first implemented and deciphered by the experts:

1) Online gambling is NOT illegal for US residents.

2) Players will NOT be prosecuted for gambling online.

3) What is illegal is for operators to accept deposits from US players

4) What is illegal are processors, credit cards or banks knowingly approving transactions for online gambling.

The bill was never designed to protect US players and impose regulations. The purpose of the bill was to keep US dollars from leaving the country and protect land based casinos from losing revenue.
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