The New Game Plan
The celebrations (or commiserations if you happened to be a McCain fan) of Barack Obama becoming the 44th President of the United States still resonate across the world. And for so many reasons, regardless of Obama’s triumph thus far, people are equally anxious, optimistic, hopeful and cautious of the big changes that lie ahead. In particular to the gaming industry in the US, the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act (UIGEA) that ground online gambling to a halt in the US back in 2006 is of particular interest now that the Democrats have usurped Washington; not just in the White House but in the Senate and House of Representatives. And with rumblings that in order to somehow realign the economy with the untold billions of dollars from taxed gaming revenue, the online gambling switch could be flipped back on sooner than later.
Championing UIGEA’s reversal, or at least its serious overhaul, has been House member Barney Frank. Since UIGEA latched onto a port security bill and skated through to law, Frank has been an outspoken opponent of its rambling, ambiguous language and measures to illegalise the processing of funds through online gambling sites. But now that Obama is President-elect (he gets sworn into office on January 20), things might become a little easier for people to get their online gambling kicks again, while at the same time buoying the country’s economy. The overall assessment is that rather than the prohibitionist attitude of the Bush era toward responsible gaming, Obama could forge a new path of strategic regulation. It doesn’t hurt that he like to have a game of poker every once in a while as well. (Check out the whole Obama family relaxing at the table playing cards on barackobama.com.)
“There have been separate acts to legalise internet gambling as well as those that particularly target poker and other games of skill,” said a statement from global financial services firm Merrill Lynch. “We think that with a Democrat president and Democrat-dominated Congress, such legislation would likely have a greater chance of being passed through.”
It’s too early to call it a ‘win-win’ situation, but if that switch does get flipped, US citizens, as well as avid gamers and gambling industry leaders worldwide, will continue the celebrations for a long time to come.