US Authorities Publish UIGEA Regulations
By staff
In America, officials from the US Treasury and the Department of Justice have published the 52 pages of regulations they hope will enforce the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) legislation signed into law by President Bush last year.

UIGEA is designed to ban financial transactions between banks and online gambling companies but the released guidelines are only proposals on which comments are invited before a deadline set at December 12.

The US Government was given 270 days after passage to produce regulations supporting the legislation, a deadline that it missed, and the new proposals only govern participants in a designated payment system or those that are financial transaction providers with end-users or customers not defined as participants and, therefore, not covered.

Under the proposals, certain restricted transactions will be exempt from regulation if the Government determines that ‘it is not reasonably practical to identify and block or otherwise prevent or prohibit the acceptance of such transactions’. As an example, the proposed rules exempt all participants in automated clearing houses, check collection and wire transfer systems except the beneficiary's bank or a bank acting directly on behalf of an illegal gambling business.

Initially there will be no master list of unlawful Internet gaming businesses, with the time to accurately research and interpret all of the state, Federal and tribal gaming laws being cited as a major impediment. In addition, the proposed regulations appear to stop short of requiring US banks to block cheques that their customers make to online casinos, but require banks to halt debit and credit card payments. The proposals also bar US bank customers such as online casinos from receiving Internet gambling proceeds.

'It looks like they took a very practical and pragmatic approach,” said Steve Kenneally, Spokesman for America’s Community Bankers. “They did not ask us to do the impossible.'

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