iMEGA and the Third Circuit Appeals Court

08 July 2009

On Tuesday, lawyers for the United States Attorney General’s Office and Interactive Medias Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) held arguments in front of the third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. What is at stake? Well it is the constitutionality of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

The arguments ran the gauntlet. Where does a bet placed online actually occur? Does it occur in the person’s home or office? Is it someplace in internet heaven?? Or does it take place in the country hosting the game’s site?

Another argument was whether or not iMEGA has the right to sue, something which was upheld at the district court level.

Also argued was whether it would have been better for iMEGA to have found an internet gambler who was harmed by UIGEA to come forward and appear in court. The problem there is that to do so, the person would be admitting in open court that he/she gambled online.That is self incrimination, and while UIGEA has no criminal penalties, there are civil ones.

The three judge panel has heard the arguments and they will now debate the issues and arguments among themselves and, in time, hand down a verdict. Also involved in this decision is the status of two bills before the U. S. Congress, HR 2266, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act. One strives to license the internet gambling industry in the United States, and the second attempts to delay the implementation of UIGEA regulations. The verdict could conceivably be held up until these bills are dealt with and resolved.

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