The Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association filed its response brief in a legal challenge hoping to declare the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) unconstitutional back in November. The organization announced on Thursday that it has been contacted by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals inquiring about its availability in April.
The case originates from the 2006 passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act which was pushed through Congress by former Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist. It was attached to an unrelated port security measure and cleared the Senate unanimously and was signed into law. The law was not clear and did not describe what was "unlawful" but instead it deferred to existing federal and state laws and claimed that the transfer of money to any "unlawful" enterprise was illegal.
The vagueness of the law turned the industry upside down and caused the largest online poker room at the time, Party Poker, to leave the US market. Other Party Gaming owned rooms followed suit including Paradise Poker and Pacific Poker. Payment processors including Neteller and Citadel Commerce also left the United States.
In a press release distributed on Thursday, iMEGA Chairman Joe Brennan said, “We’re very happy the Court is moving forward to schedule oral arguments. We’re confident we have a strong suit and it will be difficult for the Department of Justice to defend UIGEA because it is so fatally flawed.” The UIGEA leaves it to the financial industry to determine what is and is not permissible and according to iMEGA, this is grounds for the law being unconstitutional. “Congress cannot delegate that necessary determination as to what is ‘lawful’ or ‘unlawful’ to U.S. banks and credit card companies.”
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