Banks given until Dec. 1, 2009 to comply with UIGEA

12 November 2008

Breaking news: The U.S. Department of Treasury and Federal Reserve announced a joint rule Wednesday to implement and enforce the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The rule relies on financial institutions performing due diligence on corporate customers to ensure they're not processing online gambling transactions.

American financial institutions have been given until Dec. 1, 2009 to comply with the regulations designed to block online gambling transactions, including those made through credit cards, electronic funds transfers and checks. The rule goes into effect Jan. 19, 2009.

"For purposes of the rule, unlawful Internet gambling generally would cover the making of a bet or wager that involves use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any applicable federal or state law in the jurisdiction where the bet or wager is initiated, received, or otherwise made," the Treasury Department said in a statement.

According to the final rule published by the Treasury Department, during the public comment period of the proposed UIGEA rule, "about 20 commenters, almost all of them depository institutions, noted that notwithstanding the Agencies' efforts to craft a reasonable rule, the proposed regulation would be unduly burdensome and would result in compliance costs greater than any offsetting societal benefits.

"Several of these commenters stated that the rule would adversely affect the competitiveness of the U.S. payments system, and that the Agencies should be cognizant of the potential for the Act and similar laws to cumulatively cause capital flight and erode the U.S. dollar's status as the world's reserve currency."

The Treasury Department says the comments were taken into consideration, but says it believes "that flexible, risk-based due diligence procedures at account opening, such as those set out in the final rule, present the best option for balancing these two interests."

Vin Narayanan

Articles by Vin Narayanan is the former managing editor at Casino City and has been involved in the gaming industry for over a decade Vin is currently based in Hong Kong, where he runs his own consultant group and works as head of gaming and public relations for Mega Digital Entertainment Group.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for, USA WEEKEND and CNN.