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Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act | USA Online Casinos

UIGEA

The UIGEA or Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, was passed in 2006 as part of the Safe Port Act. The legislation was passed in 2006 but was not enacted until December 1, 2009.  The legislation basically made it illegal for US banks to knowingly process transactions related to Online Gambling. There has been much debate over this piece of legislation ever since it was initially passed.

The piece of legislation was snuck in as part of the Safe Port Act which was an important piece of legislation which made it illegal for companies which were not based and owned in the United States to own United States Ports. The law was passed to protect homeland security and was voted on and passed with overwhelming support.

The problem with the Safe Port Act was that many congressmen and senators passed the bill unknowingly also approving the UIGEA. Many did not even understand what the bill proposed and what it would mean to United States residents. They voted passing the Safe Port Act and many legislators later stated they would not have favored passing the UIGEA if they had understood the bill better.

Hopefully as more become aware of what the UIGEA entails, this part of the Safe Port Act will be retracted. An important part of the UIGEA is that is only related to banks and not making gambling online illegal. USA residents can still gamble online which is not breaking the law per the UIGEA. What is illegal is processing transactions at the bank level.

This raises the question then, how do online gaming transaction still get approved? The banks that process the gaming transaction are not located in the United States, therefor they take the stance they do not need to abide by US law. Many online casinos, poker sites and sportsbooks also take the same stance. Because they are licensed and regulated outside the United States, US law does not apply to them.

For more information on this controversial bill, check out Wikipedia which has a great explanation of the UIGEA and the Safe Port Act. Below is an excerpt from Wiki regarding teh UIGEA and the Safe Ports Act.

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Excerpt of the UIGEA and the Safe Port Act

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (or UIGEA) is United States legislation regulating online gambling. It was added as Title VIII to the SAFE Port Act (found at 31 U.S.C. §§ 5361–5367) which otherwise regulated port security. It “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.” The act specifically excludes fantasy sports, that meet certain requirements, and legal intrastate and inter-tribal gaming. It does not expressly mention state lotteries; nor does it clarify whether inter-state wagering on horse racing is legal.

The Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006 (or SAFE Port Act, Pub.L. 109–347) was an Act of Congress in the United States covering port security and to which an online gambling measure was added at the last moment. The House and Senate passed the conference report on September 30, 2006, and President Bush signed the Act into law on October 13, 2006.

Title VIII of the Act is also known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (or UIGEA). This title (found at 31 U.S.C. §§ 5361–5367) “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.” The Economist (magazine) noted that the UIGEA provisions were “hastily tacked onto the end of unrelated legislation”.

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