• Bill HR 6663 on US Online Gambling Laws

    04 August 2008


    Could this be a start to a new beginning for the online gambling Industry?

    A Republican from Texas Pete Sessions, a US Congressman has introduced Bill HR 6663. This bill hopes to clarify the UIGEA as to what is legal and not legal in the US. This Bill may allow companies that willfully left the US market to re-enter the US market.

    Currently the UIGEA says that banks must stop allowing transactions to illegal gambling sites, but does not define what is illegal, thus making it impossible for banks to implement the law.

    With this new Bill Sessions attempts to to clarify this by defining illegal gambling to only relate to sports betting.

    Below outlines the purpose of this Bill:


    (a) Findings- Congress finds the following:

    • (1) Prior to the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (hereafter in this section referred to as the ‘UIGEA’), Public Law 109-347, on October 13, 2006, Federal law was both vague and outdated regarding Internet gambling activities, as Federal criminal gambling statutes were passed decades before the commercial use of the Internet.
    • (2) To date, all Federal Internet gambling prosecutions have involved sports betting, creating a lack of authoritative court decisions on the applicability of other federal criminal statutes to Internet poker and casino-style gambling.
    • (3) Sports betting, which is illegal in 49 of the 50 States, is viewed as particularly harmful because its potential adverse impact on the integrity of professional and amateur sports, and is the one form of gambling where there is settled Federal case law clarifying it as illegal on the Internet.
    • (4) Many European Internet gambling companies offering services not including sports betting to persons in the United States were fully listed on the London Stock Exchange, and thereby subject to high standards of transparency and scrutiny, but upon receiving clarification of United States law regarding Internet gaming through the enactment of the UIGEA, these companies closed their sites to persons in the United States.
    • (5) Continued legal jeopardy for companies that made a good faith effort to comply voluntarily with clarified United States law following the passage of the UIGEA punishes behavior that the law intended to foster and inadvertently rewards continued noncompliance by other foreign entities.
    • (6) In light of the foregoing and in deference to long-standing constitutional requirements of fair notice and transparency in the criminal law, the Congress finds it necessary to clarify that criminal statutes applicable to gambling do not apply to any person who offered Internet gambling services that did not include sports betting prior to October 13, 2006, and who ceased offering Internet gambling services to persons in the United States upon passage of the UIGEA.
    • (7) To effect the purposes and intent of the UIGEA, it is the sense of the Congress that the Attorney General should focus any prosecutorial efforts on those persons who–

    (A) offer Internet sports betting in the United States; or

    (B) process payments for illegal Internet sports betting in the United States.

    The Bill is a non-partisan one, because Sessions is a Republican and is supported by Jesse Jackson Jr, Marion Berry and Bill Delahunt, who are Democrats.

    We shall see how this Bill does, could it end with a tie vote also? We shall see!!

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