Online Poker

UIGEA Officially Takes Effect

by Poker Team

If you are a customer of PokerStars, you may have noticed that you are not quite as able to deposit as easily to the site, especially if your preferred method was using their direct bank transfer method.  This is because as of yesterday, January 19, 2009, the controversial UIGEA has officially taken effect.  It is now in the hands of individual financial institutions to deny what it deems to be illegal gambling related transactions.

While still in its early stages of implementation, banks are now tasked with devising and enforcing ways to block such transactions.  As discussed in great detail, the actual term of illegal transaction has not quite been defined though it is now banks responsibility to police these transactions.  Though still ambiguous by nature, banks are still not exactly thrilled with the deadlines arrival.  In a direct quote  Steve Kenneally, vice president of the American Bankers Association, declared,

“It’s not a good thing for banks. Instead of getting hit on the head with a telephone pole, we’re getting hit with a baseball bat. It still hurts.”

It is important that all online poker players understand the new measures.  Players are not at all the target of the law as it is not illegal for players to play online poker online unless their individual states explicitly prohibit it.  This law is geared to go after any and all financial institutions such as banks, credit card processors and wire transfer establishments which oversee financial transactions.  Originally, banks feared that they would be forced into scrutinizing every single transaction.  However, they are only tasked with screening new accounts and identifying those possibly tied to online gambling.

Although the UIGEA is now official, efforts are still being conducted in hopes of repealing the law.  At the forefront of this effort are the Poker Players Alliance, which is led  by former Senator Alfonse D’Amato and US Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts who has been working on finding a compromise since the day the UIGEA first came about. One of Frank’s main arguments has been the unnecessary strain the law would place on banks during an already tumultuous time.

In any case, the law is officially upon us.  For how long, it remains to be seen.

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