Online Casino Study Proposed in US
By Marianne Lambert
A bill proposing that the National Academy of Sciences carry out an independent one-year study of online gambling is expected to result in evidence against the unpopular Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, introduced last October.

Nevada representative Shelley Berkley has made no secret of her wish for the UIGEA’s repeal, and has put the research proposal to the House arguing that only an objective assessment of the online casino and poker and sportsbetting industries can give clarity on the issue.

Senator and Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Rep. Barney Frank has also been pressing for change, and his proposed bill, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act 2007, would create a regulated and legal online gambling industry. Frank’s bill would also satisfy the World Trade Organisation, which has ruled against the US’s recent appeal, on a ruling which backed Antigua’s claim that US legislation goes against the WTO’s freedom of trade principals. Lobbyists and consumer pressure groups are also becoming increasingly vocal – particularly over the handling of NETeller’s frozen accounts.

It is hoped that Shelley Berkley’s proposal for research will bring reasoned opinion to the debate, and the move has been welcomed by the online gambling industry – or what’s left of it in the States.

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