Canadian delegates to the International Masters of Gaming Law Spring Conference in Windsor, Canada have revealed that the US anti-online gambling law the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act is disrupting not only American online horserace wagering and state lottery operations, but those in Canada as well.
The controversial legislation, which has been widely criticised for a lack of both practicality and precision, attempts to prohibit financial transactions with online gambling companies, placing the burden of deciding which transactions are 'illegal' and the enforcement of the law on the overworked financial services industry.
Expert warnings that over cautious assessments will adversely impact 'legitimate' online betting enterprises have been realised, triggering complaints from several state lotteries.
Constance Ladell of the British Columbia Lottery was among the many who criticised the US law, its impact on Canadian companies and the lack of positive action by the governments concerned to rectify the situation.
“Our biggest challenge comes from south of the border and the UIGEA,” said Ladell. “We’ve got caught up in that and have suffered as a result of the UIGEA as well as the risk-averse nature of the payments industry.”
The news that Congressman Barney Frank's next attempt to overturn the UIGEA (see previous InfoPowa reports) was apparently welcomed by many delegates, who seek a more precise and clear solution to the complicated legal situation surrounding Internet gambling.
“If Congressman Frank gets his way then that will help us, too,” Ladell opined, saying that she was frustrated that North American governments have thus far failed to take positive steps to properly licence and regulate online gaming.
“Ignoring the internet is like holding on to the notion that the world is flat,” she said.
One executive, Maggie McGee of the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation which is seeking to embark on Internet operations, said: “The business imperative to do so is clear, yet no jurisdiction in North America regulates.”