Online Poker

Online Poker’s UIGEA Upheld

by Poker Team

The UIGEA is here to stay, at least for now.

The U.S. third circuit court of appeals upheld the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act this week, rejecting the argument that the law should be repealed because it was unconstitutional. The Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association, the organization that brought the case to the court, says that it is considering an appeal, but it has not immediately filed one.

While the decision is seen as a blow to online poker advocates who hoped this case could initiate the immediate removal of a law that severely hampers the online gaming industry, IMEGA chairman Joe Brennan, Jr. believes that this ruling does open the door for the potential regulation of legalized poker in the U.S.

“The court made it clear — gambling on the Internet is unlawful where state law says so,” said Brennan. “But there are only a half-dozen states which have laws against Internet gambling, leaving 44 states where it is potentially lawful. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good start.”

While Brennan expressed disappointment that the court didn’t agree with the arguments that his organization presented — that the UIGEA was unconstitutional due to vagueness, privacy concerns, first amendment issues, and because it was counter to U.S. treaty obligations — he said that, in a way, “this levels the playing field.”

With the focus now on the individual states, IMEGA hopes to spend its time and resources on local issues to try to regulate the industry.

“States have always held the power to regulate gambling in this country, not the Federal government” said Brennan. “The court’s ruling seems to say ‘back to the future’ when it comes to regulating Internet gambling, so we will turn our attention to the states to make the case that this industry can be properly regulated and produce badly needed tax revenue.”

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