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iMEGA files appeal of UIGEA lawsuit
On Monday, the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association filed its brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals in the matter of its suit challenging the constitutionality of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
The UIGEA prohibits U.S. financial institutions from processing transactions between illegal online gambling sites and U.S. players. The idea behind the UIGEA is that it will stop online gambling by preventing the electronic processing of money to the sites.
iMEGA has argued that the law is unconstitutional on many fronts, including invasion of privacy and freedom of speech concerns. However, in March U.S. District Judge Mary Cooper dismissed the Association's challenge of the UIGEA.
Cooper did establish that iMEGA had standing to challenge the UIGEA on behalf of its members and the Internet gambling industry, but she dismissed the case without considering the constitutional issues raised by iMEGA's challenge, according to iMEGA.
"This is a very simple argument on which we ask the Court to overturn this law," said Joe Brennan Jr., iMEGA chairman and CEO.
"UIGEA should be 'void for vagueness,' in that Congress has not defined what an 'unlawful Internet gambling transaction' is, as they are required. Congress cannot delegate that necessary determination as to what is 'lawful' or 'unlawful' to U.S. banks and credit card companies."
Brennan pointed out that the Department of Treasury, which has been tasked with drafting the regulations for UIGEA, has testified before Congress that they themselves cannot make that determination.
"Because Congress refused to draft necessary standards, the law is so inherently flawed as to make it totally vague and unenforceable, and we are confident that the Court will overturn it," Brennan said.
In its appeal, iMEGA also contends that the court erred in ruling that iMEGA couldn't assert the First Amendment rights of private citizens who may engage in Internet gambling, and that it erred in equating online gambling with illegal activity, where that conduct is private, consensual and legal under the act.
iMEGA is represented on this appeal by lead counsel Eric Berstein, of Berstein & Associates; Stephen Saltburg, George Washington University School of Law; and Edward Leyden, iMEGA president and general counsel, Hollrah Leyden LLP.