UIGEA: The Sky will not Fall on December 1

As banks in the US prepare for the implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in December, customers of internet sportsbooks, casinos and poker rooms are growing nervous. Make that more nervous. We have gotten dozens of calls and emails all wondering what this means for Internet gambling, several have viewed this as

As banks in the US prepare for the implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in December, customers of internet sportsbooks, casinos and poker rooms are growing nervous.

Make that more nervous. We have gotten dozens of calls and emails all wondering what this means for Internet gambling, several have viewed this as ‘the end’. However, this appears to be just another scare tactic from the U.S. government. This law, though it has a catchy title and a cool acronym that appear to give the it teeth, really appears that it will have little or no effect on the current state of money movement to and from Internet gambling houses.

The American Bankers Association, a trade group that “works to enhance the competitiveness of the nation’s banking industry” and represents over 95% of the country’s banks, clearly notes that the Final Rule on the UIGEA issued December 18, 2008 is aimed at companies and credit cards. Banks are now required to do more due diligence at the time of account opening to deny commercial entities that may be acting as Internet casinos access to the payments system. It also requires that policies and procedures be implemented to prevent all debit and credit card payments to Internet casinos. However, it does not require that checks, ACH payments, or wire transactions related to Internet gambling be monitored or blocked.

So this UIGEA is clearly aimed at financial institutions and gaming companies, not players. There is no mention specifically of the tried-and-true funding methods of Western Union or MoneyGram. Nor does it appears that recent inroads by some gaming companies into using ACH (where the player’s bank account is directly debited) as a form of funding will be stopped, or even looked at. As with most of the beliefs on Internet gambling in Washington, lawmakers once again are misguided here. They must think that the main source of funding a gambling account is via credit card. Or that 123sportsbook opens a bank account in the U.S. under the name 123sportsbook!

We recently polled a dozen very reputable gaming companies offshore. We were trying to find out what preparations they were making as the December 1 doomsday approaches. The most common response included the sentiments, “You know far more than we do about this one.” Bookmakers offshore have had to skirt the ever-evolving U.S. laws since they took their first bets from foreign soil, so most view this as just another ‘bump in the road’. Clearly the December 1st date is nothing like the final game of a winning ten-team parlay to offshore bookies. And, should the bump in the road become a roadblock, the offshore outfits will get creative. They always have and seem to have an uncanny knack of staying one (or more) step ahead of regulators and legislators.

Still, players have grown increasing anxious. The government propaganda machine is clearly in override as the date approaches. To that end, recent bank statements and emails sent to customers’ state, in one form or another, that restricted transactions related to unlawful Internet gambling are prohibited from being processed.

Check out what TD Bank put on this month’s statement to customers.

TD Bank statement regarding UIGEA

These declarations are required by the 2006 UIGEA. The strange thing is that they are showing upon personal bank accounts when the law clearly is aimed at the businesses involved in Internet gambling, not the players. We asked a local bank manager who said the credit/debit card portion of the UIGEA final rules forced banks to put out the misinformation to its customers. Banks must have policies and procedures that would prevent credit and debit card transactions from being made to Internet casinos for unlawful Internet gambling by any of its customers, including individuals. But, banks may rely on the existing policies and procedures established by the card networks and they do not have to create a separate process.

Thus, it may become even more difficult to use credit cards to fund your offshore gambling endeavors. However, as many players can attest, the use of credit cards at many Internet sites is not easy or reliable. Cards get rejected regularly, and the additional paperwork generated and rules enforced at offshore books and casinos make the use of Visa and MasterCard sketchy at best.

The bottom line for players is that if you use a credit or debit card and it has had issues in the past, forget it after December 1. We would also suggest not using a credit or debit card from any new bank accounts or avoiding cards all together if looking to ensure that your gambling remains under the radar.

Again, your bank is not required to block ACH, wire, or check payments related to unlawful Internet gambling to be in compliance with the Final Rule. So, if you choose to gamble online, knowing the pitfalls and the fact that the government does not want you playing, there is no need to worry about getting a check payout. If you want to ACH a deposit to your favorite book or poker room, go ahead. Looking to receive a bank wire? No problem.

As far as the operators? It is and will be business as usual. Money movement has been an issue for sometime offshore. Most Internet operators use systems that are not directly related to gaming. They are constantly looking for new funding and payout methods, knowing that if they can’t pay customers, they are out-of-business.

If you are an Internet gambler, there really is no reason to run from your offshore account. Or from your government. They are just trying to scare you. The UIGEA is just another law that has little success in living up to its name and actually enforces ‘illegal internet gambling’, whatever that is.


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  • No Deposit
    November 6, 2009, 4:05 pm

    I do not like the US government’s desire to be bullies. They helped to spread the understanding of nuclear technology. This is not a good thing for the existance of mankind. The US government has oked the use of two nuclear bombs used in WWII. The only government to ok this. They have created a company called Blackwater. These are just hired killers.

    Similar to what Bin Laden used to say, most everything the US is about is evil in that they act out against people when they get angry. Why hasn’t anyone put US government officials in jail for their decisions to fight instead of using patience to communicate effectively with their perceived enemies?

    Now the online gambling industry has to deal with this immature country. Why is US Congress afraid of sitting down with the owners of this industry and coming up with a deeper understanding of the supply and demand behind gambling? No one is too busy to spread love. The bible says we are to love our enemies, not come up with stupid laws to bully them.

    People want to bet online. The United Kingdom has respected this demand and is working with online gambling owners to help make the industry trustworthy.

    It’s time for US government to start blowing whistles on their fellow officials. I say they should blow it on the one’s who openly respect evil (fighting). I know the bible says there is a time for war. Is that time really now? Isn’t mankind done with courageous fighting? We get in enough in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Government jobs should be employed by people who really hate fighting. Right?

  • uberVU - social comments
    November 7, 2009, 5:27 pm

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    November 16, 2009, 12:31 pm

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  • Mobil Keluarga
    October 30, 2010, 1:32 am

    Nice article sir…


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