Online Gambling Sites Work Around UIGEA

13 March 2007

San Francisco Chronicle
Tom Somach, Special to The Chronicle
Monday, March 12, 2007

Thinking of going online and wagering on a few games in the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament?

Uncle Sam doesn’t want you to, but he’s having trouble stopping anyone.

The government’s latest effort to get Americans to stop gambling via the Internet has been largely ineffective, according to the online gambling industry.

In autumn, Congress passed — and President Bush signed into law — the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. U.S. lawmakers can’t crack down on the online betting sites because most operate from foreign countries, so they instead moved to cut off the flow of money.

The law makes it illegal for American financial institutions, such as banks and credit card companies, to transfer funds between U.S. citizens and online gambling sites that offer sports wagering, poker or casino games.

If online gamblers can’t get money to the online sites to gamble with — and more importantly, can’t collect their winnings — they’ll stop gambling, lawmakers figured.

They figured wrong.

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