The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (the "Act") enacted into law at 10 a.m. ET on Friday October 13, 2006. The Act adds the following provisions to the money and finance provisions of Title 31 of the United States Code
Subchapter IV - Prohibition on Funding of Unlawful Internet Gambling
5361. Congressional findings and purpose
5363. Prohibition on acceptance of any financial instrument for unlawful Internet gambling
5364. Policies and procedures to identify and prevent restricted transactions
5365. Civil remedies
5366. Criminal penalties
5367. Circumventions prohibited
Section 5363 bans and and Section 5366 criminalizes the acceptance of funds from bettors by operators of most online gambling Websites. The operators affected are those who:
(1) being engaged in the business of betting or wagering
(2) knowingly accept
(3) proceeds from credit cards, electronic fund transfers and checks
(4) in connection with with the participation of a bettor
(5) in unlawful Internet gambling, which is the sponsorship of online gambling that violates any other federal or state anti-gambling law..
The ban and criminal provisions become effective immediately on enactment.
Mere participation in online betting or wagering is not banned or criminalized by the Act.
Section 5364 requires financial institutions to adopt procedures and policies designed to block the flow of prohibited funding to the operators of the affected online gambling Websites. This provision does not become mandatorily effective until the federal regulators adopt implementing regulations. The Act allows the regulators 270 days (about July 2007) to write and adopt the regulations.
Section 5365 gives federal and state attorneys general the power to seek civil remedies to help enforce the other provisions of the Act. The remedies include ordering an Internet service provider to remove access to the Website of an operator who violates Section 5363 or other Websites that contain hyperlinks to such sites. Such remedies may only be sought as to Websites that are hosted by the particular Internet service provider.
Bets and Wagers
Section 5363 does not make it illegal for a mere player to make bets or wagers. Rather, the Act applies only to those involved in the business of betting or wagering. Section 5262 defines a bet:
• as the staking or risking of property in order to win something of value based on the outcome of:
• a contest of others
• a sporting event, or
• a game subject to chance
• the purchase of a chance to win a lottery or other prize the award of which is predominantly subject to chance
• the making of a wager prohibited under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or as including "any instructions or information pertaining to the establishment or movement of funds by the bettor or customer in, to, or from an account with the business of betting or wagering."
Some commentators have argued that the operation of online poker Websites should be excluded from the reach of the new law because poker, being a skillful game, is not a game of chance. Under current state law that argument does not hold water. Most U.S. jurisdictions apply the Dominant Factor test to determine if a contest is a game of skill or a game of chance. That test looks to which elements predominate (51%) in determining outcome of the game. If the elements of chance predominate, then it is a game of chance, notwithstanding that skill elements are important, but not predominant. Furthermore, the outcome is to be determined by the considering the nature of the game and the abilities of the average player coming to the game. See: Is Poker a Game of Skill? Online poker operators should consider mathematical analysis of their vast data bases of poker results to support attempts to overturn the case law that views the "luck of the draw" aspect of poker as resulting in its being a game of chance.
Excluded from the definition of "bet" are:
• various business transactions like securities and commodities trading and insurance policies
• participation in online games with no pay-to-play aspect and where the prizes are limited to free play of various games and certain fantasy sports contests
Conducting Unlawful Internet Gambling Unlawful Internet gambling is defined as:
• placing, receiving or transmitting a bet by means of the Internet but only if that bet is unlawful under any other federal or state law applicable in the place where the bet is initiated, received or otherwise made excluded from the coverage of "unlawful Internet gambling" are waypoints along the World Wide Web that are only incidental to the places where the electronic transmission of the bet or wager is initiated and finally received.
• online bets made solely within a single state under an enabling statute passed by that state. [Note: there are no such enabling laws at this time.]
• online bets made solely on or among Indian tribal lands under enabling laws adopted by the affected tribes and approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission. [Note: no such laws have been adopted or approved at this time.]
• online bets made under the Interstate Horseracing Act. [Note: online interstate bets on horse races where such bets are legal at both ends of the online connection have been permitted under that law since 2000.]
The new law, therefore, only applies to online gambling operators who violate other existing state or federal anti-gambling laws. Some commentators on this aspect of the Act conclude that since there are only a handful of states that expressly ban Internet gambling, this law has not accomplished very much.
The better view is that all of the online gambling sportsbooks, casinos and cardrooms violate existing anti-gambling laws of every one of the fifty states. This is because:
• The gambling is legally deemed to take place simultaneously at both ends of the Internet connection.
• Under applicable state laws these interactive online gambling Websites are deemed to be doing business in the states in which the players are located when they make a bet.
• The general anti-gambling laws of every state criminalize the operation of unlicensed gambling like the sportsbooks, casinos and cardrooms that are covered by the new law.
• Thus, this professional form of unlicensed gambling appears to be illegal whether or not the state has adopted a specific Internet anti-gambling law.
• in the US. Please be advised that for us here at One Stop Gambling Guide it is business as usual.