- Vixio Gambling Compliance, 10.13.21: Unintended Consequences Linger 15 Years After UIGEA Enactment (mentions iDEA Growth, full article below)
- There may not be a better example of a federal statute creating the opposite of what Congress intended than the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which President George W. Bush signed into law 15 years ago today.
iDEA Growth Member News:
- IGB, 10.13.21: Draftkings Becomes Official NHL Betting, Fantasy And Igaming Partner
- DraftKings has announced a new partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL), which sees the operator become an official sports betting, daily fantasy and igaming partner of the league in the US.
- IGB, 10.13.21: Pointsbet Strikes Partnership With Curling Canada
- PointsBet Holdings has announced that its subsidiary, PointsBet Canada, has been announced as the exclusive sports betting partner of Curling Canada.
- SBC, 10.13.21: Golden Nugget Online Gaming Turns To Sg’s Openbet For Virginia And West Virginia Sportsbooks
- Scientific Games Corporation has bolstered its partnership with Golden Nugget Online Gaming following the launch of OpenBet sports technology across New Jersey and Virginia with the US casino operator, as well as a dual integration of digital sports betting and igaming in West Virginia.
- Play NV, 10.13.21: DraftKings Makes Another Big Move In Las Vegas With 90,000-Square-Foot Technology Hub
- DraftKings continues to expand in Las Vegas despite not operating a sportsbook in Nevada.
- Play VA, 10.13.21: And That Makes 9: Golden Nugget Debuts As Newest Virginia Sportsbook
- We knew it was coming, and now it’s official: Golden Nugget is live and taking sports bet in Virginia.
- Legal Sports Report, 10.12.21: Does BetMGM Growth Change Calculus For Entain Deal With DraftKings?
- BetMGM is at the center of the three-way M&A tussle between DraftKings, Entain and MGM Resorts.
- Saturday Tradition, 10.12.21: Gov. Hogan Pushes For Maryland In-person Sports Betting Launch
- Days after the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission took action to begin licensing three state casinos for in-person sports betting, Gov. Larry Hogan urged state residents to push for the launch of in-person sports betting during the NFL season.
- KETK, 10.12.21: 3 Casinos Awaiting Sports Betting Approval In Shreveport
- Three Shreveport-Bossier area casinos are among the 13 that have formally applied for a sports betting license in the state.
- Sports Handle, 10.12.21: Connecticut Regulator Prioritizing Consumers With Digital Soft Launch
- On Tuesday, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection prepared for the 3 p.m. launch of digital sports betting and online casino platforms via DraftKings and FanDuel, as well as Rush Street Interactive‘s sports wagering platform.
- SBC, 10.13.21: Return Of Football Sees Indiana Sports Betting Revenue Surge Back To Form In September
- Indiana’s retail and online sportsbooks celebrated the return of football in September to generate a record-breaking $355.4m in wagers and $33.3m in revenue.
- Play IL, 10.12.21: Illinois Sportsbooks Rebound To Clear $400 Million In Handle In August
- If July represented the summer swoon, then August’s Illinois sports betting numbers show that swoon is ending.
- We Are Iowa, 10.12.21: Iowa Sports Betting Has Brought In $8 Million Of State Tax Revenue Since Legalization
- During nearly every televised sporting event in Iowa, viewers are bombarded with commercials for sports betting. The recently-legalized industry is taking off in the state, bringing in millions of dollars.
- Legal Sports Report, 10.12.21: What’s Popular In Early Days Of Ontario Sports Betting?
- Similar to the US market, football is the big early draw for Ontario sports betting.
Vixio Gambling Compliance
October 13, 2021
By Tony Batt
There may not be a better example of a federal statute creating the opposite of what Congress intended than the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which President George W. Bush signed into law 15 years ago today.
UIGEA specifically exempted fantasy sports from its prohibitions, opening the door for a new breed of fantasy operators led by DraftKings and FanDuel to redefine the segment by offering daily fantasy sports contests, claiming they were games of skill, not gambling.
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on May 14, 2018, that states could legalize sports betting, DraftKings and FanDuel had already amassed huge databases of fantasy sports customers, whom they transformed almost overnight into sports-betting customers.
Other commercial gambling companies followed suit, making the online sports betting industry in the United States one of the fastest growing businesses in the world.
“What the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act did not do was prevent or even substantially diminish illegal online gambling,” said Behnam Dayanim, a prominent gaming attorney with the firm of Paul Hastings in Washington, D.C.
Although several major publicly traded operators withdrew from the U.S. market, offshore gambling activity continued largely without interruption until April 15, 2011 – Black Friday as it is known in the gaming industry – when federal officials abruptly shut down offshore poker websites, including PokerStars.
But even now, illegal offshore gambling websites continue to thrive, so much so that eliminating them remains a top priority for the legal and regulated commercial gaming industry.
“The irony of the statute ultimately is that what was intended as an anti-gambling effort eventually fostered the growth of both gambling and a new ‘quasi-gambling’ activity [daily fantasy sports],”Dayanim said.
Perhaps just as interesting as the aftermath of UIGEA is how the law was created.
It is a classic Washington, D.C. political tale, with the man most responsible for UIGEA believing he could become President of the United States by ramming the statute through Congress in the dead of night on the day of adjournment in 2006.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Republican from Tennessee seeking to bolster his conservative bona fides for a presidential run in 2008, resurrected UIGEA single-handedly after the statute appeared to be dead in the water.
“When we went to bed on the night of September 29, 2006, supporters had tried to attach UIGEA to several different conference reports [on pending legislation] and had failed,” said Dan Walsh, a lobbyist for online gambling association iDEA Growth in Washington, D.C.
Walsh, who was the lead lobbyist for the Interactive Gaming Council at the time, said Frist forced lawmakers to open the conference report on a totally unrelated port security bill and add UIGEA.
“Only the [Senate] Majority Leader could have done that,” Walsh said.
The reaction of the gaming industry, both in North America and Europe, bordered on despair.
European online gaming operators all but abandoned their hopes of expanding in a massive new online gaming market in the United States.
Less than seven weeks after President Bush signed UIGEA into law, Frist announced he would not run for president after all. A wealthy heart and lung transplant surgeon, Frist would end his political career in 2008 by leaving the Senate and fulfilling his pledge to serve only two terms.
But while Frist has faded into obscurity, UIGEA endures as a statute that must be reckoned with by the gaming industry.
Specifically prohibiting the processing of financial transactions for any unlawful online gambling, UIGEA is among a trio of federal statutes that linger as potential roadblocks to gambling industry expansion.