Hopes that the Obama administration in the United States would bring a more enlightened vision to the online gambling scene, and a delay in the implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Regulations, are fading as the industry considers the content and implications of the US government’s Final Rule.
In November last year, some sixteen months after the UIGEA was passed by Congress and in something of a rush as the Bush administration was coming to an end , the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve Board published the regulations supporting the UIGEA in the form of a Final Rule for compliance by US financial institutions.
Notice HP-1266 advised that the UIGEA prohibits gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with unlawful Internet gambling, including payments made through credit cards, electronic funds transfers, and checks.
“The Board and the Treasury are required by the Act to develop a joint rule in consultation with the Department of Justice,” the notification advised.
“The final rule requires U.S. financial firms that participate in designated payment systems to establish and implement policies and procedures that are reasonably designed to prevent payments to gambling businesses in connection with unlawful Internet gambling.
“The rule provides non-exclusive examples of such policies and procedures and sets out the regulatory enforcement framework. For purposes of the rule, unlawful Internet gambling generally would cover the making of a bet or wager that involves use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any applicable federal or state law in the jurisdiction where the bet or wager is initiated, received, or otherwise made.”
Although the Final Rule becomes effective on January 19, 2010, compliance by financial institutions becomes mandatory on December 1, 2009.
Official announcements detailing the rule, together with legal interpretations, can be read at the following sources: