iMEGA still waiting for UIGEA ruling

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Friday marked 30 days since iMEGA went before Judge Mary Cooper in U.S. District Court for oral arguments supporting the organization's request for a temporary restraining order versus the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and to contest a motion to dismiss by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Judge Cooper didn't make a decision on the 26th, instead announcing she would take time to look over the arguments and hand down judgment in 30 days.

While iMEGA hoped to hear a decision by the end of the day Friday, four days later there's still no news of an impending decision.

"We do recognize, though, that it is up to the discretion of a Federal judge as to how long they wish to take to render a decision," iMEGA said in a release on Friday. "So, though the court said '30 days,' Judge Cooper can and should take as long as she feels is necessary to provide a fully considered decision."

The decision the organization is waiting on will determine if the lawsuit against the UIGEA will move forward as well as if a temporary restraining order will be placed on the implementation of the UIGEA until the lawsuit is settled.

iMEGA's lawsuit is based on its belief that the UIGEA is a bad law and violates Americans' Constitutional rights because it prevents them from engaging in their fundamental right to conduct their lives however they wish to.

The UIGEA prevents people from exercising that right by prohibiting them from transferring funds from their banks or credit cards to an online gambling site.

"Frankly we feel that it is a good sign that Judge Cooper is taking her time," iMEGA said. "We believe it confirms iMEGA's suit is not a 'nuisance suit' - one lacking in merit - which would likely have been dismissed immediately."

Since the hearing date, the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve have also been moving forward with the UIGEA, releasing proposed rules for comments.

According to iMEGA, there's no indication how this may weigh in Judge Cooper's process, but the organization's legal team has been in contact with the U.S. Department of Justice attorneys, and both sides have stipulated that the draft regulations be entered into the record.

"Obviously we hope that Judge Cooper will grant our motion today and set us up for a full evidentiary hearing, so that we may demonstrate that the UIGEA is a bad law on two counts," iMEGA said.

Those two counts are:

  • It is an "egregious violation" of Americans' digital civil rights, because people should be able to enjoy the same freedoms online that they do in the real world.
  • UIGEA is functionally a bad law. Although it seeks to protect minors, gambling addicts and American players from fraud, the UIGEA has actually made those groups more vulnerable by removing from the process the banks and credit card companies along with the safeguards they employ every day.

"What is most important to iMEGA is that this law [be] overturned, so that Americans' digital civil rights are preserved, and that this bad law does not become precedent for targeted attacks on other popular Internet entertainment categories," the organization said.

"Americans must preserve their right to choose what activities they wish to enjoy online, in the privacy of their homes, in their own free time."

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