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iMEGA submits UIGEA comments
The final day to submit comments to the U.S. Department of Treasury about the proposed regulations being set up for the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act came and went on Wednesday, but not before iMEGA got its objections in about the law as well.
The Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA) already has a lawsuit working its way through the court system against the UIGEA, and now it submitted objections to the anti-online gambling law to the Treasury Department.
"The new law, attached in the waning minutes of the 109th Congress to the unrelated SAFE Ports Act with very little input from Members of Congress, is a misguided and potential harmful attempt to regulate Internet content," said the organization in a release.
- The organization believes that the UIGEA and its proposed regulations will:
- Establish a dangerous precedent for denying Americans' First Amendment rights
- Stifle online innovation and commerce
- Inadequately protect children by eliminating the established safeguards offered by banks and credit card companies
- Have a chilling effect on the privacy rights of Internet users.
"These proposed regulations will limit Americans' freedom to use the Internet as they see fit in the privacy of their own homes," said Edward Leyden, President of iMEGA.
"While UIGEA is intended to protect minors and problem gamblers, the law ironically makes these groups more vulnerable by targeting US banks and credit card companies, whose identity verification, fraud prevention and credit profiling systems protect online consumers every day."
Leyden pointed out that the new system won't keep children and problem gamblers any safer, and instead trades off the people's digital civil liberties.
It is these beliefs and views of the UIGEA that prompted iMEGA to make asserting and safeguarding Americans' civil liberties in the online world part of its core mission.
Some of the problems iMEGA noted in its filing to the Treasury Department were the agency's refusal to define exactly what an "unlawful gambling transaction" is and that the financial institutions involved in the transaction would have to figure out if its legal or not before accepting or denying the transaction.
"Given the harsh civil and criminal sanctions facing any market participant falling afoul of these proposed rules, the natural course of action for a financial intermediary - particularly a smaller entity without a corporate legal department or sophisticated outside counsel to guide it - will be to deem every transaction submitted by an Internet gaming concern to be an 'unlawful' one," Leyden says in a letter with the organizations submitted comments.
What will result, he argues, is essentially a blanket prohibition on Internet gaming despite that the UIGEA doesn't specifically prohibit all online gambling.
"The Internet is indispensable to our economy and our freedom," said Leyden. "We implore the Congress to join in a bipartisan effort to preserve Americans 'Digital Civil Rights' and to enact legislation that will guaranty these rights and prevent future abuse."