|In America, the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) has branded as ‘unconstitutional’ proposed legislation that would punish anyone found gambling online with a two-year prison term and a fine of $25,000.|
The Governor of the eastern state of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, has crafted the Act Establishing and Regulating Resort Casinos in the Commonwealth proposition, which contains a clause on page 28 punishing anyone found gambling online.
“The proposed law, which would criminally punish conduct carried out by Massachusetts residents on the Internet, would be another unconstitutional infringement of Americans' digital civil rights,” said Edward Leyden, President for iMEGA.
The Washington-based lobby group is currently involved in Federal Court with the Department Of Justice over the constitutionality of the Unlawful Internet Gaming and Enforcement Act (UIGEA), a bill that banned most online gambling nationally. The organisation believes that it will prevail in its efforts to overturn UIGEA because Americans have the right of privacy along with the right to communicate and interact with others online just as they have these rights in person.
'As this case makes it way through the legal system, we believe that it would be best for the Massachusetts legislature to forestall action on this provision and, if, as we expect, a preliminary injunction is issued in [iMEGA’s court case], legislators should remove this provision from the legislation,” said Leyden.
The proposal, which would permit three resort-style casinos in the state, has also been criticised by anti-gambling groups believing that it would encourage problem gambling.