NBA looks to keep UIGEA in place

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The NBA has spent in excess of $300,000 on lobbyists to help preserve the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), according to a story with the Associated Press.

The story reported that the NBA paid McGuirewoods Consulting $280,000 for the second half of 2007 bringing the total paid to the Congressional lobbyist for the year to $330,000.

Specifically McGuirewoods lobbied Congress on behalf of the NBA to uphold UIGEA and prohibit online gamblers from collecting their winnings.

UIGEA, which was passed in October 2006, makes it illegal for financial institutions to process deposits to online gambling sites, including online poker rooms.

Ironically a number of the NBA's most well-known stars have hosted charity poker events in the past. Shawn Marion, Michael Jordan and more have attended or hosted poker events.

In the past members from all the major sports leagues in North America including the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB have stood firmly behind UIGEA stating that legalizing and regulating online gambling would hurt the integrity of their respective sports.

In addition those organizations have opposed non-sports gambling online as well, believing it would complicate the implementation of UIGEA.

Detractors have called the major sports leagues hypocrites for allowing bets on fantasy sports. Some analysts have estimated that 13 million people play fantasy football with a total of $1 billion spent. Domestically it is also legal to gamble on fantasy sports, horse racing and lotteries.

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