USA Regulation and Taxation
There are not many reputable US-facing internet casinos left, due to the US government’s current stance toward internet gambling. Since the US Congress passed the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) of 2006, many US-facing programs exited the US market fearing reprisal from Uncle Sam. In turn it lead to many a disgruntled and frustrated US player who could no longer wager online using credit cards. However, all is not doom and gloom we’ve listed ten (see below table) of our top online casinos that still accepts players from the United States.
The UIGEA’s History
Congress tried to pass anti-internet gaming legislation since 1998. Most of these efforts failed before they even begun due to various obstacles ingrained in the law making process. Numerous interest groups and lobbyists held up the bill in committees every year each wanting a piece of the cake. In turn this caused Congress to run out of time before the Bill could be passed.
The Republican controlled Congress tried to distance itself from the corruption and scandal that sprouted from connections with internet gaming lobbyist Jack Abramhoff, an “American Values Agenda” has been created by the party which curtailed wagering online.
This movement was spearheaded by Representatives Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Jim Leach (R-IA). Goodlatte stressed that gambling over the internet cost the American economy billions of dollars per year and it also encouraged identity theft, scams, national security, and illicit financial transactions.
Polls indicated that most Americans felt that wagering online is a personal choice. The Republicans were defeated in November 2006 with both Houses going to the Democrats. In a last bid to make their presence the Republicans slipped the UIGEA through as an attachment to a Homeland Security bill. The UIGEA was also attached to the Safe Port Act by President George Bush. Basically the Safe Port Act’s intention is to curtail terrorist organizations from smuggling weapons into the United States via shipping containers.
Promulgation of the UIGEA
In 2006 the political landscape changed to such an extent it paved the way for anti-online gambling legislation. The scandal that dogged Jack Abramhoff who opposed anti-gambling efforts several times in the past resulted that both Houses of Congress gave him the cold shoulder. Consequently, Congress was able to pass Internet gambling legislation in 2006.
The House of Representatives introduced two separate bills shortly after. The Leach Bill proposed that all electronic financial transactions used to fund internet casino transactions be stopped immediately with the cooperation of foreign governments. Similar to the Leach Bill was the Goodlatte Bill, it intended to broaden the Wire Act’s scope to encompass internet casinos and poker rooms through a change in the definition of “the business of betting and wagering.”
The controversies that surrounded the Goodlatte Bill could be seen as one of the main reasons why the House ultimately decided on a joint bill, which integrated both aspects.
The Leach/Goodlatte Bill was passed by The House in 2006 and sent to the senate for consideration. At the time most experts believed that the Senate would run out of time before the Bill was passed. Unfortunately this was not the case. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) managed to attach it to the SAFE Port Act at the eleventh hour. To achieve this without any opposition, the expanding Wire Act provision had to be removed first. Since the Bill was now attached to the legislation of the Homeland Security and the Wire Act requirements were removed which resulted in the promulgation of the Bill.
What exactly is the UIGEA?
It prohibits any person/s to participate in betting or wagering, in connection with the participation of another person, in unlawful Internet gambling such as credit, EFTs, checks, drafts, or the proceeds of any other form of financial transaction stipulated in federal regulation.
Before the imposition of the UIGEA, persons or organizations that facilitated internet gambling transactions were charged only with aiding and abetting (it states that if one person assists another person/s in the commission of a criminal offense you are just as guilty as the individual committing the offense).
Since the UIGEA came into law, law enforcement agencies no longer relied on distorting current laws to punish those participating in online gambling transactions (aiding and abetting requires no knowledge and conspiracy requires no crime).
It goes without saying that the UIGEA is meaningless from a legal perspective. It encourages foreign based internet gambling operators to exploit various loopholes within the current US legislative system. As it is the US is losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars every year which could have been used to create employment and to aid dwindling state coffers.
While the rest of the online gambling industry holds its breath hoping that the US would come to its senses and legalize online gambling again, dodgy operators continue to exploit US-based players. One thing is certain, the UIGEA has failed to ban online gambling in its entirety.[addtoany]