Taxpayers Face $20 Million Cost to Enforce Bad Law
Washington, D.C., December 1, 2009—Today, banks and other credit processing companies were given a temporary reprieve from an onerous federal regulation on Internet gambling. Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006, but the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Board intervened on last week, just days before the law was to go into effect, postponing enforcement until mid-2010.
“Treasury recognizes that the law is vague, will do little to stop Internet gambling, and will be financially burdensome at a time when credit processing companies are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy,” said Michelle Minton, a CEI Policy Analyst. “And the cost to taxpayers of simply gathering and processing the information required by UIGEA is somewhere around $20 million.”
Several lawmakers have introduced bills to permanently overturn UIGEA, including Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA.) and Jim McDermott (D-WA).
“Internet gambling in the United States is going to continue, with or without a regime, and regardless of any attempt to ban the activity,” said Minton. “While the best way to regulate Internet gaming, if it should be regulated at all, will continue to hotly debated by members of Congress, the first step should be to recognize that UIGEA is simply a bad law and a strain on financial institutions and should be overturned permanently.”
>View the full statement by Michelle Minton on OpenMarket.org