Obama Plans to Reverse Many of Bush Administration Policies

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President Elect Barack Obama plans to use his executive powers to make an immediate impact when he takes office, perhaps reversing Bush administration policies on stem cell research and domestic drilling for oil and natural gas, according to Stephen Ohlemacher of the Associated Press. 

Could Obama also use his executive powers to reverse policies related to online gambling?

While that may seem like a rather big stretch, the odds may not be as long as one would believe.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act came into law in October 2006 as an unfunded mandate requiring banks to monitor - and presumably stop - transactions related to online gambling.  The problem:  Not all online gambling activity is deemed "unlawful" under the UIGEA.

Trying to distinguish between "good" and "bad" Internet gambling transactions would result in an unnecessary burden on the banking institutions during these rough economic times. 

In response to the US Treasury Department's "midnight drop" (a standard practice for outgoing administrations to finalize controversial regulations before leaving office) banks have warned they may block all online gambling transactions rather than try to determine which ones are illegal. An official from the Federal Reserve testified before Congress in April that the draft regulations created considerable uncertainty.

The controversial rules would make it illegal for banks to process credit card transactions from most Internet gambling sites.

Their implementation has been opposed by groups advocating individuals' right to gamble, the banking industry, Democratic lawmakers in Congress and even officials at the Federal Reserve.

John Podesta, Obama's transition chief, said Sunday Obama is reviewing President Bush's executive orders as he works to undo policies enacted during eight years of Republican rule. He said the president can use such orders to move quickly on his own.

"There's a lot that the president can do using his executive authority without waiting for congressional action, and I think we'll see the president do that," Podesta said. "I think that he feels like he has a real mandate for change. We need to get off the course that the Bush administration has set."

Payton O'Brien, Gambling911.com Senior Editor

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