Republicans Criticise UIGEA
By Staff
In America, the raft of objections already submitted to the US Department of Treasury and the Federal Reserve criticising the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) has been joined by a letter from two Republican Senators.

Senators John Sununu and Pete Domenici suggested to Henry Paulson, US Treasury Secretary, and Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, that the regulations being established are creating hardship for banks trying to implement the ban on online gambling transactions.

The White House published the much-delayed proposals for regulations designed to give teeth to UIGEA, which passed Congress in October of 2006, late last year and asked for comment.

The Senators stated that, while the October Notice of Proposed Rulemaking contained certain guidance for the regulated community, it ‘leaves sufficient ambiguity as to what sort of transactions are to be blocked’.

“In failing to provide more detail, the proposed rules would inordinately burden every bank, credit union, credit card company, money transmitting business and payment system in the country, leading to non-uniform compliance and confusion,” the letter read.

'This issue is particularly important, as most Federal and state gambling laws predate the Internet and are less than specific as to their application to particular practices or circumstances.

'The extensive public comments received on this issue highlight the likelihood that risk-averse financial institutions will simply choose to block every transaction that may be interpreted or could resemble gambling, whether legal or not. Knowing that this is not your intention, we write to urge that any final rules contain a list of restricted transactions and instances that are covered by the law and the corresponding rules.”

Government officials have so far been reluctant to identify specific practices on which financial institutions should act, generating concerns in the banking industry.

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