2009 February 17, Bob "Bonus-Code" Manalo
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In a recent interview with the Financial Times of London, US Congressman Barney Frank has said that anti online gambling regulations pushed through in the final weeks of the Bush administration might soon be reversed because Americans are "demanding the right to gamble online."
Frank, Chairman of the House of Representatives' powerful Financial Services Committee, will reintroduce a bill "within weeks" that, if passed, would reverse the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which made it illegal for credit card companies to process online bets in the United States. His bill would also establish a licensing and regulatory framework for online gambling operators.
This could be great news for all American gamblers as well as US credit card firms that have fought and delayed the implementation of the UIGEA since it was first passed by the US Republicans in 2006. A change in American policy may also affect Europe.
The European Union has been pressuring the Americans for violating commitments to the World Trade Organization about liberalizing gambling. The European Commission has been working to open up gambling markets within Europe but Germany and the Scandinavian countries remain opposed, the rest of the continent, however, has seen growth in online gambling. Another recent Financial Times analysis explains:
"Since the UK created the most liberal online gambling market in 2007, countries such as Ireland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Belgium are leaning in the same direction. Operators have flocked to Spain and Italy as those markets open up. France is preparing to publish a draft law that promises a regulated market."
It seems as though the times are finally changing and, if successfull, Barney Frank's bill may mark the moment when online gambling reaches that next level of respectability that it has long deserved.
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