Despite pressure from both domestic and international sources to abandon a prohibition on internet gambling, the U.S. Department of the Treasury is making a final push to see the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act fully implemented before George W. Bush leaves the White House.
Treasury officials finalized regulations that define illegal online gambling activities and which transactions banks and credit card companies have to decline. The rules were forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget for review.
The move is generally seen as a traditional act of an outgoing administration. By finishing and implementing the law, the president-elect will not have to finish executing laws enacted by the previous administration.
However, in this case, the incoming president, Barack Obama, is considered more friendly to internet gaming, so some see the move as a last-ditch effort to get the law implemented before it is permanently stalled.
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank asked Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to postpone implementation of the ban. He said it would “tie the hands of the new administration, burden the financial services industry at a time of economic crisis and contradict the stated intent of the Financial Services Committee.”
Frank chairs the Financial Services Committee, which approved legislation that prohibits implementation of the UIGEA. That legislation did not clear the House or the Senate.
Frank has been an outspoken critic of the UIGEA, which was passed as part of a port security bill in 2006. The language of the online ban was inserted into the must-pass port security bill at the last minute.