Casino Watch Focus explained that in 2006 Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. UIGEA made it illegal for online gambling companies to accept money for unlawful Internet gambling transactions and it called for regulations on the banking and payment processing industry. There have been a few examples of the government going after companies for their financial involvement with internet gambling. However, there have been virtually no examples of true financial enforcement of UIGEA until this week. Focus on the Family reports why so many pro-family groups are praising the enforcement:
This week, the government finally started enforcing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) — by freezing more than $30 million in potential winnings. The 2006 law requires financial institutions to block payments to off-shore Internet gambling operations that are not licensed to operate within the U.S.
Focus on the Family and Concerned Women for America (CWA) are among 20 pro-family groups calling on Congress to continue the enforcement of UIGEA and oppose the legalization of online gambling. “We need to step up enforcement,” said Shari Rendall, director of legislation and public policy at CWA. “The effects of gambling are pervasive, and they need to be stopped.”
These groups are asking the U.S. House to oppose current bills that seek to undermine UIGEA by making online gambling legal:
Pro-family groups are asking the U.S. House to oppose two bills from Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.: H.R. 2266, which would give banks more time to comply with UIGEA; and H.R. 2267, which would legalize Internet gambling in the U.S.
Ken Darnell, co-founder of Gambling Exposed, said it’s time for the Justice Department to take a stand against online gambling. “They should do everything they can within their power to curb it,” he said.
The 2006 Gross Annual Wager Report shows Americans lost nearly $91 billion on all forms of gambling. According to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission and addiction counselors, 15 million to 20 million U.S. adults and adolescents have either problem or pathological gambling addictions. Darnell asked: “Why would our government support any type of activity that’s going to do this to its citizens?”