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The Remote Gambling Association Likes Bill Targeting Sports Betting

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Aug/10/2008

What are they thinking? The Remote Gambling Association, a European group that represents stock market-listed remote gambling companies in the UK and elsewhere throughout Europe, has offered its support for a new bill that looks to make online sports betting illegal.

HR 6663 or the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Clarification and Implementation Act of 2008 is purposed to clarify what constitutes what as legal and illegal under the UIGEA. The bill was authored by Pete Sessions (R - Texas).

"Federal Internet gambling prosecutions have involved sports betting, creating a lack of authoritative court decisions on the applicability of other federal criminal statutes to Internet poker and casino-style gambling."

Even the powerful Poker Players Alliance has shunned the latest bill.

PPA Chairman Alfonse D'Amato stated that the PPA is "puzzled by the introduction of H.R. 6663 and by the purpose of this legislation.

While we agree with several findings in the bill that correctly identify the illegality of sports wagering, the PPA remains concerned with the implication H.R. 6663 asserts in that the [UIGEA] has made Internet poker an unlawful activity that needs special protection from prosecution.

"Previous federal case law (re: Mastercard 2002) made it clear that existing federal criminal law (WIRE Act of 1961) applies only to sports wagering, and not to internet poker. Further, the UIGEA itself states, ‘No provision of this law shall be construed as altering, limiting or extending any Federal or State law.' Thus, H.R. 6663 only confuses a clear judicial standing on this matter."

Joe Brennan, Jr. founder of iMEGA.com tells Gambling911.com the European firms have a lot to learn about how the US political process works.

"Nothing will be overturned in the short term unless it is fought in a court of law," he snarled. IMEGA, which stands for The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association, was founded in 2007 with the goal of working constructively and cooperatively with government at all levels, and other concerned citizens and corporations, to continue the remarkable growth of the Internet, and to promote innovation, openness and freedom as the path to even greater benefit of this medium for all.

Brennan's organization - heavily supported by the Costa Rican sports books and online casinos - is presently challenging the US Justice Department in a Third Circuit Court of Appeals where it seeks to have the UIGEA repealed on grounds that it is "Unconstitutional".

Brennan, Jr. has already warned that nothing will get done in Washington on the Internet gambling front for at least another year and a half.

"I live in Washington, I know how they do things here," he told Gambling911. "Nothing can possibly get done before the year is over. It's an Election year. Online gambling is not an important enough issue to focus on right now."

And Year One of a new administration means that only bills related to the economic wellbeing such as offshore drilling, the mortgage and banking meltdown and national security will receive top attention as most politicians will be focusing primarily on where they themselves fit into the new regime.

"Congress cannot even pass a bill in this session related to offshore drilling - perhaps the number one issue concerning voters in the US today," commented one online gambling analyst who wished to remain unnamed. "If the Remote Gaming Association really believes the Sessions bill is going to pass during this term where there are more recess weeks than there are actual days our Congress is working, I got a bridge to nowhere to sell these clowns."

The RGA is hopeful that the new bill will permit currently exiled online poker rooms like PartyPoker and Titan from coming back into the U.S. market.

RGA Chief Executive Clive Hawkswood believes that H.R. 6663 would go a long way to meeting the concerns of both the RGA and EU. He issued the following statement:

"We took our case directly to U.S. legislators who have heard our message, understood the inequity of the Department of Justices' stance and appreciated both the unfairness in their enforcement policy and the risk to U.S. priority interests and its reputation if the policy was pursued further," said Hawkswood. "This could be a major step in demonstrating that the rule of the law and integrity of the WTO are still important in Washington."

Brennan, Jr. just sits back and puts his head down. "All they (the European online gaming interests) are doing is throwing money away by paying lobbyists."

He also implied in not-so-many-words, they are being taken for suckers.

----

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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