The UIGEA Bill of 2006 and How it Affects Sportsbook Banking Options

Despite what many people believe, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, also known as UIGEA, does not prohibit US players from participating in online sports betting, or any type of online gambling. In fact, the law it is not aimed at players at all. This law was created to provide regulations concerning how online gambling transactions can be processed in an effort to eliminate the risk of fraud and money laundering crimes, which seemed to be far too present in the online gambling industry at that time. The results have been a little bit painful for US players since the law's implementation, however the US friendly online gambling market has stabilized and has begun to operate much more smoothly, compliant with the safe standards that were achieved through the enactment of the UIGEA law.

The UIGEA law places restrictions on US based credit card companies and other types of payment processors regarding how they can process gambling related transactions. This caused virtually all the ewallet banking options to exit the US market, and drove credit card companies to reject any and all transactions that were tied to an online gambling purchase. In response to the extreme reaction from credit card companies, online sportsbooks, casinos and poker rooms began seeking out and investing in premium payment processors that provide high quality services and high level protection of both operator and customer financial information.

These premium payment processors are subject to the UIGEA terms, and have worked hard to maintain compliance with the law while also processing US credit card transactions successfully the majority of the time. Because the UIGEA targets gambling site operators and payment processors, those interested in operating legitimately within the industry have raised their standards and the quality of their processes to provide a much safer and more reliable environment for US players to participate in online gambling for real money. These are the types of businesses that players want to consider doing business with rather than those brands that cut corners and implement schemes to deceive the process.

The burden of complying with the UIGEA lies solely on the sportsbook operators and the payment processors. The law does not target or place terms on US players. During the Poker Black Friday that took place in 2011, the DOJ seizure of several prominent poker sites did not in any way include the investigation of or arrest of any players at any time. While the freezing of business assets for several poker sites did delay customer access to their funds for a period of time, players did eventually receive their money, and in some cases received restitution from those sites found guilty of not completely adhering to the UIGEA law. Players will never have to worry about getting into trouble for violating this law as they are not subject to the terms contained therein.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act does have an impact on sports betting in the US to the degree that it does affect the range of funding options that are available to American players. However this is becoming less and less of an issue as both bookmakers and payment processors raise their standards to contribute to the safety of the online gambling community. The law absolutely does not make it illegal for US players to participate in online gambling at legally licensed and regulated offshore sports betting sites. Some of the viable sportsbook banking options that have become stronger for US players to consider are credit card deposits such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover Card. Additional viable options include money transfers and secure payment vouchers. As US based online gambling begins to take shape in the United States, we suspect that this law will have to be modified to accommodate substantial industry infrastructure in the states which are moving in this direction. We will keep you posted of any changes which occur.

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