In America, Texas Republican Pete Sessions has introduced his House of Representatives Bill 6663 (HR6663) for consideration when Congress returns from its August holidays.
Also known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Clarification and Implementation Act of 2008, the proposed legislation would diagnose exactly what constitutes ‘unlawful’ in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006. Three high-powered fellow Congressmen, all Democrats, have already backed the Bill as co-sponsors, Marion Berry of Arkansas, Jesse Jackson Jr of Illinois and William Delahunt of Maryland.
The Bill describes a major ambiguity of UIGEA as to whether online poker and games like virtual blackjack are legal within the United States.
“Federal Internet gambling prosecutions have involved sportsbetting, creating a lack of authoritative court decisions on the applicability of other Federal criminal statutes to Internet poker and casino-style gambling,” reads 6663.
In addition, it also seeks to prohibit the prosecution on gambling charges or for any financial crime related to gambling of any company or individual associated with a company that ceased taking US Internet bets after October 13, 2006. This would benefit companies such as Party Gaming and 888 that exited the US market following UIGEA’s introduction with the implication that these should not suffer punitive action for respecting the new law.
However, the proposal would not shield companies that took bets on sporting events before or after the passage of UIGEA with legal experts stating that the proposed legislation contains a ‘sense of Congress’ provision that law enforcement efforts should be focused on sports gambling.
Just like Nevada Representative Shelley Berkely's Internet Gambling Study Act, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Clarification and Implementation Act has been submitted to the House Committee on the Judiciary and could be scheduled for discussions as early as September.