espite testimony from a rainbow cross-section of society, including leaders of financial institutions, government departments, Congressional members, Internet experts, and foreign policy observers, the Department of the Treasury is intent on implementing the UIGEA before the coming change of administrations.
Treasury officials finalized regulations which would define online gambling activities were illegal to transact payments through banks and credit card companies. On October 21st, the new rules were forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget for review before implementation.
Representatives from various gambling industries, along with Treasury officials, are meeting all week with OMB personnel to voice opinions about the regulations before they are enacted. Letters signed by a group of Congressmen have asked that the implementation process be stopped.
Horse and dog racing industry reps have already had meetings to attempt to retain exemptions in the new definitions that were provided in the UIGEA. Members of the Interactive Gaming Council have also attended at least one discussion, and Executive Director John Pappas of the Poker Players Alliance is scheduled to have a say on Friday.
Pappas said, "It’s really remarkable that this administration would try to push this out given the burden it would place on financial institutions at this time of financial crisis."
If the Treasury succeeds in placing definitions on what constitutes online gambling and improper payments, the transaction process for online casinos will become even more awkward and muddied for American players.
The Bush administration is following a tradition of imposing controversial regulations before the end of term, a process which allows the incoming administration a clear desk and no pressure to immediately deal with the liability of handling a hot potato. But there is also the belief that the Obama Executive Branch will be friendlier to Internet gaming, thus leading hardcore religious Republicans to push this agenda now.