Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006

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The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) is a U.S. law which was approved in late 2006. It was added to the Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006 via conference committee and was signed by President Bush on October 13, 2006. The Act prohibits the transfer of funds from a financial institution to an Internet gambling site, with the notable exceptions of "fantasy" sports, online lotteries, and horse/harness racing.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006

Debate and passage

The UIGEA became law despite never being debated on by the Senate. It passed the House on July 11, 2006 by a 317-93 vote but was not taken up by the Senate. During a conference committee to iron out the differences between the House and Senate's version of the Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006 the UIGEA was added to that bill, which was then approved in up-or-down votes by both chambers of Congress. The House version of the UIGEA was cosponsored by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Jim Leach (R-Iowa).

Main article: Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006

July 11, 2006
Passed, 317-93, with 22 not voting, view details
Dem: 115-76-10 in favor, GOP: 201-17-12 in favor, Ind: 1 in favor


The UIGEA was aimed at defining and restricting certain aspects of interstate online gambling. Legislatively, it amended the Federal Wire Act. In doing so, it reinforced that financial institutions would be held both criminally and civilly liable for processing related transactions. The Act specifically prohibited people from making a "bet or wager" on events that rely on "outcome of a contest of others" including:

  • Dog racing
  • Lottery participation
  • Gambling on athletic events

The bill exempted:

  • Horse racing
  • Securities transactions
  • Commodities transactions
  • Over-the-counter derivative instruments
  • Indemnity or guarantee contracts
  • Insurance contracts
  • Bank transactions (transactions with insured depository institutions)
  • Games or contests in which the participants to do not risk anything but their efforts
  • Certain fantasy sports contests. [1]

Controversy and implementation


Since passage of the bill, there have been many warrants issued for companies as well as individuals both foreign and domestic. The "State of Louisiana had canceled all outstanding arrest warrants issued against current or former employees, including ex-CEO Peter Dic".[2]

Amendments since passage

Amendments in the 110th Congress

Bill to overturn 2006 Act

In April 2007, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) introduced a bill, (H.R.2046) overturning the Act, stating "The existing legislation is an inappropriate interference on the personal freedom of Americans and this interference should be undone." Additionally, the bill sets up the framework for taxing and regulating online gambling by individuals within the United States.[3]

<USbillinfo congress="110" bill="H.R.2046" />


As of May 1, 2007, the bill had collected the following cosponsors:

Support and opposition

On May 1, 2007, Roll Call reported a story in which lobbyist Martin Gold, who works for Covington & Burlington, sent Frank an e-mail stating, "Our sports organizations would very strongly oppose any effort to legalize any online sports gambling." Among the five major sports organizations that his firm represents are the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball (MLB).[4]

In a World Trade Organization dispute between Antigua and the United States, the WTO ruled on January 25, 2007 that the U.S. is in violation of its treaty obligations by not granting full market access to online gambling companies based in the island nation.[5]

On March 30 the WTO confirmed the U.S. loss in the case. [6]

Previous legislation

A prior version of the gambling bill passed the House in 1999, but failed in the Senate in part due to the influence of lobbyist Jack Abramoff. [7]

Other Internet gambling legislation

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Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. CRS Report for Congress, 10-2-06
  2. Burke Hansen, "Sportingbet set free in Louisiana," The Register, 21st March 2007.
  3. House Financial Services Committee: Frank Introduces Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007
  4. By Jessica Holzer, "Sports leagues mobilize against Frank’s gaming bill", Roll Call May 01, 2007.
  5. WTO rules against US in online gambling case
  6. Reuters: WTO confirms U.S. loss in Internet gambling case
  7. Roy Mark, "Frist Pushing Internet Gambling Ban", internetnews.com, September 6, 2006.

External resources

External articles