The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which defines American gambling laws online, is taking more of a public beating this week. Labeling it “the Unworkable Internet Gambling Enforcement Act,” Rep. Shelley Berkley (D.-Nevada) wrote a long piece for the influential Washington, D.C.-based publication “Roll Call” comparing UIGEA to alcohol prohibition.
In a show of support for the work of legal online gambling advocate Barney Frank (D.-Mass.), Berkley argues that the UIGEA enforcement method is impossible to implement and that current online gambling laws in America hurt precisely those they are designed to protect, namely the players.
Berkley writes in part: “…countless Americans logged on to their computers June 1 — the day the act took effect – and placed bets over the Internet. And these men and women will keep right on playing, knowing that the law doesn’t even make clear what is illegal gambling and what is not when it comes to the Internet.”
The UIGEA also contains a “fatally flawed enforcement mechanism” in UIGEA in that policing of individual credit-card transactions must be done by an “inexperienced and overworked financial services industry.”
As for solutions, Berkley suggests that her native Nevada’s model of regulating land-based casinos might be adaptable to American Internet casinos and American poker rooms online. “It’s time to let the UIGEA ride off into the sunset and to replace the virtual Wild, Wild West it has created with workable regulations designed to protect American adults […] when they choose to place a bet over the Internet,” she concludes.