US Gambling Ban on Last Legs

US Gambling Ban on Last Legs

If you were to pull aside the average person on the street, find someone that played some sort of online gambling game and then ask that person what event they thought changed online gambling forever, chances are that the first thing they would say is the victory of Chris Moneymaker at the 2003 World Series of Poker.

However, if the person were a true online gambler and not just an online poker player, they may tell you instead that online gambling was changed forever with the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.


Indeed, the UIGEA has been the subject of heated debate around the United States of America. With social conservatives on one side of the argument and seemingly everyone else on the other, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate decided to flex their muscles in 2006 and pass the UIGEA in spite of heated opposition from the minority Democrats.

Barney Frank, a Democratic representative from the state of Massachusetts, famously made the statement that “if we ban everything because of the potential harm it may cause, adults in this country would sit at home doing nothing all day.”

Well it appears that good things come to those that wait because Frank, now the head of the House Committee on Financial Services, has passed the Payments System Protection Act through the committee and potentially has it on the road for a full house vote. If the house votes yes on the bill, the UIGEA will be overturned and payment processors operating in the United States will no longer have to ban online gambling from their payment acceptance.

Little Support

It seemed very clear that the UIGEA had very little support around the country when Jim Leach, the sponsor of the original bill in congress, was defeated by his opponent in the November midterm election in 2006 ostensibly for no other reason than the fact that he was the initial force behind the bill. Ever since that defeat, public opinion and operations in the legislative body of the federal government have slowly been turning away from the UIGEA and the hallmark of that fight is Frank’s bill.

According to Mr. Frank, “adults are entitled to do with their money what they want to do,” an opinion that very much jives with his liberal way of thinking in terms of social issues. In the view of Barney Frank, the federal government should not be telling people what they can and can not do during their time off in the comfort of their own home. At least 23 million Americans agree with him on that point, since that is the number of known American players of online gambling sites.

Considering the momentum that the anti-UIGEA campaign has gained in the two years since the midterm elections, it seems quite clear that act itself is on its last legs. With a very unpopular president and a do or die campaign on their minds, it does not look as though the Republicans are poised to offer any kind of organized resistance to the Payments System Protection Act when it does come to the floor of the house.

To Americans that have been having a terrible time getting their online gambling fix, this represents very good news indeed.

June 15, 2011 by : posted in Gambling Abroad No Comments