The UIGEA, or Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, was instituted back in 2006. Originally it was supposed to protect gamblers in the US by banning the activity. It tasked financial institutions with gambling problems because they had to monitor, flag and deny any activities that were directly or indirectly related to online gambling. Banks didn’t like that because it cost them extra man power to be the watchdog, and it also threatened to impose hefty fines if they weren’t careful. Though it was supposed to get people out of the gambling trap, in the end all it did was push US gamblers to start using offshore gambling companies. The harsh reality learned by the gaming public was that if people want to gamble, they will. People started utilizing companies and fueling billions of dollars out of the US as a result.
Five years later the US legislators realize how the UIGEA failed and are trying to find ways to either repeal it alltogether, or at minimum amend it. Representative Barney Frank has been a leader in working with new gambling law and trying to come up with the right way to police gambling, while still legalizing it. He has been instrumental in pushing the issue to the foreground of the Senate talks. His main impetus is the billions of dollars available through tax revenue. He knows that if the US continues to ban online gambling, people are going to continue to push their funds to other countries that are more than willing to accept their gambling money. Frank is trying to walk the line: he wants to legalize gambling, but regulate it in such a way that eveyrone involved is protected too. This may take some time because it is a difficult task, but it also is a high priority. There are just too many dollars at stake if the US doesn’t make this a primary issue to deal with. Only time will tell how the laws flesh out, but most likely Frank along with other representatives will find creative ways to legalize gambling as a whole, regulate it and utilize the billions in tax revenue available through the hobby.