In America, the Bush Administration is working to finalise regulations that would enforce the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) despite pledging that it would not introduce any rules after November 1 except in ‘extraordinary circumstances’.
The Republicans lost control over the White House in last week’s elections but President-elect Barack Obama will not officially take over until January 20. According to the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative non-profit lobby group, the new regulations to enforce UIGEA will be issued at the last minute before they can be stopped by the incoming administration, a move orchestrated by a Bush official that was until recently a lobbyist for the National Football League (NFL).
'At a time when the financial system is in crisis, it is irresponsible for the Bush Administration to rush through a fundamentally flawed regulation that even representatives of the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve have stated on record is unworkable,' said Jeffrey Sandman, Spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative.
'We are sceptical of the Administration's motivation to get this done at the very last minute, especially given the apparent involvement of an NFL lobbyist turned Bush appointee.'
As recently as March, William Wichterman was a paid lobbyist for the NFL through the law firm of Covington and Burling before leaving to serve as a political appointee for the last few remaining months of the Bush Administration. American football’s governing body opposes all forms of online gambling with the exception of fantasy sports, a pastime that generated more than one billion dollars in revenues last year, and has actively campaigned against legislation clarifying UIGEA.
'The Bush Administration is setting a horrible precedent of pushing through flawed regulations at the very last minute to deliberately circumvent the in-coming administration,” said Sandman.