A Bank of America online glitch on Wednesday sent shock waves through the gambling community for the second time. When the glitch occurred, online gamblers panicked and assumed that their accounts were frozen due to new online gambling law in the U.S. Bank of America corrected the problem so customers could access their accounts again.
On June 1st, a new U.S. law went into effect called The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (or UIGEA). The UIGEA is the Internet gambling provision that was added at the last moment to The Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006 (or SAFE Port Act) which also covers port security. The UIGEA prohibits the transfer of funds from a financial institution to online gambling sites, excluding fantasy sports, online lotteries, and horse racing.
The burden of the UIGEA law is on U.S. financial institutions because banks must stop online gambling transactions. Many of the biggest institutions warned the government that it would be nearly impossible to stop these transactions. Republicans lawmakers are generally against regulating online gambling, and Democrats are generally for it.
However, Democratic Congressman Barney Frank supports online gambling rights and is challenging the UIGEA to overturn the gambling aspects of the Act. Frank introduce a new bill in 2009 titled, "The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act," which seeks to repeal the major online gaming obstacles of the UIGEA and go further in protecting Americans from fraud, while safeguarding against underage and problem gamblers. The debate will heat up when the legislation hits the stage. Frank has been praised by praised by poker players and online gamblers, including Republicans.