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Internet Gambling: Time to take off the pink glasses

 Months after the passage of the UIGEA and not much to look forward to from the online gambling quagmire.

Internet Gambling: Time to take off the pink glasses A lot of optimism these days surrounding the state of the Internet gambling in the United States. To the point where you can imagine a line of companies already forming in front of the "online gambling license office".

 And, of course, I would play the role of the cold shower after a long night of beer and Jägermeister. There are always two sides of the story, and is just obligated to bring you the side which is not being discussed.

 What happened in the past few months, as far as online gambling is concerned, that we are feeling so positive about?

 Well, let's start with the famous lawsuit against Alberto Gonzales, filed on behalf of a new organization called the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA). Besides the cool abbreviation, the website of the organization claims to have filed a lawsuit against, I think, Alberto Gonzales. I honestly don't know, because when I visited their website, I saw a lot of iPhone news, but not much about an Internet gambling lawsuit. Just a simple press release.

 There was no link to the lawsuit, no copy of the papers they filed, not even a case number. There is not much on the website, period. You can become member of iMEGA by paying $20.00 yearly membership, but they failed to provide information about the benefits of the membership. And I am not paying $20 bucks to find out.

 It's obvious that iMEGA is a lobby for online gambling operators, but I don't know or care to find out who they are. iMEGA claims that they are seeking "Temporary Restraints Requested to Halt Enforcement of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) and Resume Internet Gambling", so I would assume that they work for online gambling companies currently operating in the U.S. Really, not enough information about this organization and their lawsuit to make an informed decision, thus I fail to see a light at the end of this tunnel.

 Let's see, what else? Oh, yeah, Rep. Barney Frank held a meeting to discuss his Internet gambling bill. Poker Player Alliance posted the hearing on YouTube. Because the video is broken into many parts, click here to watch Part 1, and continue from there, to see it all. As we applauded Mr. Frank for his integrity and desire to give the people more freedom, I am yet to be convinced that his Internet gambling bill would change the restrictions on the online gambling industry. Other than the commission hearing on the bill, there are no news on when this online gambling bill would actually be voted on by the House and the Senate.

 Actually, Barney Frank's Internet gambling bill has so many holes, I don't know why I am calling it a bill. It's more like a "draft to further restrict Internet gambling, while calling it the opposite". Yeah, if you actually read the "bill", you would see a lot of "opting out" and not much "opting in".

 Which brings me to the next event, that could be well connected with Mr. Frank. The E.U., Antigua and a bunch of other countries are now seeking sanctions against the USA, after a WTO panel ruled that USA is breaking the law by banning offshore gambling websites of operating in the country, while allowing US gambling websites to continue accepting bets from US citizens.

 Good news? Not really. The Union will not seek re-opening of the Internet gambling market in the U.S., but would rather look to open other trade sectors to offset the lost of Internet gambling revenues. And what this has to do with Barney Frank? Well, he could kill two birds with one stone, if his bill is passed in it's current basics. One, he would lift the burden from the bank's shoulders. Two, online gambling would be legal in the United States on federal level, therefore the possible WTO sanctions would have no grounds.

 If you are still here, and not contemplating suicide, read on.

 Want more "good news"? How about the co-founder of Neteller, Stephen Lawrence, pleading guilty to conspiracy charges? According to the lawyers of Lawrence, he is "cooperating with U.S. investigators". Investigating what? Neteller PLC is also "cooperating with investigators".  All these ongoing investigations do not fit quite well in the positive spirit being blown around.

 Want more? BetOnSports PLC has agreed to plead guilty to the federal racketeering charge. And according to some reports, when Gary Kaplan was busted in the Dominican Republic, he had a few fake passports on him. That sure won't help his case, nor the online gambling image.

 A couple of weeks earlier, authorities in Utah announced charges against seven people and four companies, including, in an alleged scheme to disguise credit-card payments for Internet gambling.

 And all this happened in the past couple of months. I know, none of these sound very positive. Let me think...Ok, I give up, I can't think of anything. Let me know if you can make something good out of this mess. If you excuse me, I am going to get drunk.

Andy Boyd

Published on 07/02/2007



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