UIGEA Law Takes Effect June 1st: What it Means to Online Poker and Casino Deposits

27 May 2010

Newspaper

Just how this is going to affect everyone that plays online is still in question. The Bankers say that they do not know how they are going to implement this law, since it is so unclear and will take away the privacy from their customers.

We will have to wait and see just what does happen when this law goes into effect.

ORLANDO, FL, May 27, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ — The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act looks to be on track to go into full effect on June 1, 2010. This law makes it illegal for online gambling sites to knowingly accept deposits from US players; it also makes it illegal for financial institutions to knowingly facilitate such transactions. The UIGEA places onerous regulations on gambling transactions, which America’s banks are going to bear the brunt of responsibility and costs enforcing the new law.

The law has been openly criticized by many, including the VP of the American Bankers Association, Steve Kenneally, for being ambiguous and vague. In his criticism, he referred to its language that refers to “unlawful transactions” which is not adequately defined. Many have observed that “Unlawful Gambling” is another definition that is difficult to nail down as well.

Mr. Kenneally also said there was not any way to prevent individuals from making payments to gambling sites with checks or wire payments. He mentioned that credit cards are easier to prevent, only if the transaction is properly labeled, which many are not.

However, the question in most people’s minds is how will this ultimately affect deposits?

There seem to be some indications that online deposits will still be possible after the law goes into full effect, namely some credit cards, wires, checks, echecks and ewallets. Some methods may be more reliable than others.

Credit Cards: As Steve Kenneally pointed out, credit card transactions are extremely easy to prevent with the caveat that they are properly labeled or coded. In reality, however, many online gambling companies have become very creative in finding ways to code the transactions in a way that banks and financial companies do not know the transaction is in fact with an online gambling company. This leaves open the possibility that credit cards may be available even after the UIGEA goes into effect. However, we doubt they will be reliable, meaning they may work one day and not another. This depends greatly on how quickly the online gambling companies can adapt their coding techniques.

All online casinos and poker sites accept credit cards, however there are a few that have the best chance of accepting deposits after the UIGEA.

Wires/Checks/Echecks: From the statements by Mr. Kenneally, it also appears that wires, checks and echecks may still be available after June 1st. This being because the check and wires are not categorized. In the case where banks may be able to block payments to certain companies, it may also be easy to get around.

Nearly all casinos poker sites take wires and paper checks.

However, there are only a few poker sites that take echecks, including Full Tilt Poker and AbsolutePoker. There are no reputable online casinos which currently take echecks.

Ewallets: Among all deposit methods, ewallets seem to be the most viable option after the law takes effect. That is because ewallets such as usemywallet and Ewallet Xpress are simply third party financial companies, usually located overseas, so they are outside the jurisdiction of the US government. These companies allow individuals to make deposits to their online ewallet with credit cards, wire transfers, and checks. With this ewallet, an individual can then deposit money on any site that accepts such ewallets. Since these ewallets are not gambling sites, these transactions should still be easily available to US players.

However, since the bill is so poorly written, even the best guess is purely speculation. We have sought opinions from top legal experts in gambling and they have even said it is very difficult to know. The only way to know in this case is to simply wait and see.

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