On Friday, 8-3-07, Congressman Adam B. Schiff [CA-29] joined a growing list of co-sponsors to Rep. Barney Frank’s Bill H.R. 2046, meant to repeal the UIGEA by legalizing and regulating Internet gambling, bringing the total number of co-sponsors of the IGREA Bill to 35.

Congressmen have been hearing from constituents in large numbers over recent weeks who feel that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) passed last year is an infringement of their rights to choose and participate in certain recreational activity.

The UIGEA made it illegal to transfer money to and from offshore gambling establishments without actually defining what an illegal gambling offshore establishment is. Opponents of the UIGEA see many things wrong with the law, that being one of them.

Another problem opponents have of the UIGEA is that it violates the first amendment right of the U.S. constitution. Opponents believe Americans’ right to free speech and commercial association has been negated by this law. They also believe the law violates the Tenth Amendment’s protection of states’ rights to regulate online gambling.

IMEGA (Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association) has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in New Jersey for a temporary restraining order to halt the enforcement of the UIGEA and has named Alberto Gonzales, the DOJ, FTC and the Federal Reserve as the defendants. A hearing on the TRO is set for September.

Focus on the Family Action is a closely associated pac of Focus on the Family. FoF is a right wing christian religious group that is heavily supported by republicans in Washington. FoFA is its lobbying group and has come out publicly for the U.S. government to not only enforce the UIGEA, but to make it stronger. Opponents say that FoFA has warped the thinking of many of its supporters by twisting the facts and reporting their opinions on the issue as if they were facts.

After several communications to FoFA’s Chad Hills, who is billed as the group’s gambling analyst, asking him to back up and clarify his allegations, the only response received has been that ‘we should agree to disagree.’ “Hardly a position one should take if talking the truth,” said Gordon Price of Casino Gambling Web.

After further research it appears that the US government, specifically the Department of Justice, has delegated its responsibility to investigate complaints of citizens to another right wing religious group, Morality in Media.

If one has a complaint and wishes to direct it to the DoJ, from their website one is taken to a different site operated by obsenitycrimes.org, which is owned and operated by MiM. There, one can state the nature of the complaint and subsequently have one or two members of that group decide if it has enough merit to pass on to the DoJ.

Since 2004, this is an American’s only option to file a complaint at the DoJ online, according to the Washington Post.

Some disturbing facts about MiM… In 2005 they stated of the first amendment that ‘It’s merely part of a framework of ordered liberty.’ On their website obscenitycrimes.org, one can find statements such as ‘The first source of law is god himself.’ This statement is just one of many religious statements that can be found on the site.

MiM is one basis of proof that the religious right is controlling the DoJ and, at the very least reveals its influence on American government.

The only way American citizens can be truly be heard is to contact congressional and senatorial members by snail mail, email and telephone, encouraging them to act on the behalf of freedom.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was created and has many holes in its armor. Proposals have been on the table about regulations for the UIGEA.

Up until now, it had been rumored that those proposals would be taken seriously. With no hearings scheduled, people were left to wonder if the regulations would ever be discussed.

Now, those rumors can be put to rest. Representative Luis Gutierrez, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology, has announced that a hearing has been set regarding this issue.

The hearing will most likely include opinions they have gathered from various groups regarding the proposed regulations. Those include religious groups, banks, and citizens.

It is just speculation as to what exactly will be discussed at the meeting, because nobody was available to comment on precisely what would be discussed.

Just the fact that the hearing is now scheduled is a step in the right direction. For months, rumors have been swirling regarding possible regulations, but there has been no substance to those rumors. That has changed now that the hearing has been set.

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008 is the date of the hearing. The time will be 10:00 A.M.. Check back with CGW as we will have in depth coverage of this important issue as it relates to online gambling.

Slots Gambling Referendum Gaining Critical Support in Maryland


Maryland always had Pimlico Race Course. The legendary race track has drawn people from all over the world. Recently, however, it has gotten more difficult to draw patrons with the addition of live slots in surrounding states.

Governor Martin O’Malley saw the need to follow in those states’ footsteps and add slots to the draw in Maryland. The plan is now up in a referendum that would bring over 9,000 slots to the state.

Recently, the referendum gained the support of the Maryland Teachers Union, who voted in favor of backing the referendum. That was a much needed group to join the growing list of supporters for the slot legalization.

Now, county leaders are also lining up behind the referendum. The Maryland Association of Counties has come out and said, they too, will support the referendum.

“Local governments have a direct interest in the passage of the slots referendum this year,” said Jim Smith, a Baltimore County Executive.

Money will not be the only thing generated if the referendum is passed. It is expected that over 9,000 new jobs will be created in the horse racing industry. That means the economy in the state will naturally take a turn for the better.

Back in 2006, President Bush decided it was a good idea to sign into law the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. What was intended to ban online gambling, has turned into a complete mess for banks, much like many other of Bush’s decisions.

The UIGEA was put into place by the United States government to stop Internet gambling. So far, a year and a half later, the online gambling market is still flourishing, and banks are having a difficult time trying to figure out the law.

“We believe the UIGEA will in the end catch more banks in a compliance trap and do greater damage to the competitiveness of the American payments systems, than it will stop gambling enterprises from profiting on illegal wagering,” said ABA Senior Federal Council Nedda Freese, along with Director of the ABA Center for Regulatory Compliance, Richard R. Riese.

What the UIGEA has done is put the burden of making sure financial institutions on the banks themselves. While it may be the responsibility of the government to make sure the law is being followed, they have decided it is better to put that responsibility on the banks themselves.

In the end, what will most surely happen, is that banks will begin getting into legal trouble for not knowing how to police themselves. Many banks feel slighted by the Bill, claiming they do not have the resources to do the police work.

“In other words, in the view of the drafters of this legislation, all the sophistication of the FBI, Secret Service, and other police computerized detection systems and investigative expertise devoted to fighting terrorism and financial crime, are inadequate to the task of apprehending the unlawful gambling business or confiscating its revenue,” says the ABA.

The ABA goes even further to prove the point that banks should not be responsible for their own policing by saying, “…punting this obligation to the participants in the U.S. payment system is an unprecedented delegation of government responsibility with no prospect of practical success in exchange for all the burden it imposes.”

The vagueness of the law is the problem not only for banks, but for the government themselves. With no guidelines to follow, it will be nearly impossible to achieve the goal that the Bill was set out to achieve.

Once again, President Bush has put his signature on something that will lead to failure for Americans. More thought was needed to determine that regulation would have been the proper avenue to combat illegal online gambling activity.

Now, whoever succeeds Bush will have one more mess that will have to be cleaned up. More legislation that will have to be defined, and in the meantime, illegal gambling online will continue to grow and thrive.