With the Unlawful Internet Gambling & Enforcement Act’s September 4th deadline fast approaching, there’s no telling how US banks are going to react when ordered to reveal ways in which they plan to block transactions to and from online casinos, poker rooms and other gaming providers.
Actually that’s not true. I lied. Anybody with half a brain knows this wager’s a no-brainer. In all likelihood, the United States government will once again postpone the deadline, as they did with the previous mid-July cut-off date for financial institutions to provide ways of enforcing the UIGEA by controlling online transactions.
Under the UIGEA the responsibility of policing online gambling activities has been placed on banks, despite the fact that they’ll need billions of dollars to carry out these complex controls, and no amount of money is going to prevent computer geeks from developing new ways to fool the banks. Where there’s a will (and billions of dollars at stake) there’s a way. If we’ve learned anything about cyberspace, and especially with so much cash in the gaming biz, the tekkies will always be one step ahead of the banks.
Also banks – they say – are in the business of making money. Sure, if forced to stem American taxpayers’ liberties, the banks will acquiesce, but for a price. And even when they fail to enforce the UIGEA, which they will, the bankers will simply claim they didn’t receive the government funds they always said they needed. As hard as it is for me to say this, can anybody really blame the banks?
Look, the last thing I want is for bankers to lose any sleep over the online gambling industry. So I’ve come up with a really simple solution: Why not have the land-based casinos and lotteries finance the UIGEA’s enforcement? While we’re at it, let’s give the horse racing biz a run for their money too by granting them the privilege of coughing the banks’ monitoring costs as well. After all, aren’t these the same gambling organizations behind the anti-online gambling crusade in the first place?
All I can say to America’s bank presidents, CEOs, shareholders, lawyers, actuaries, oh and Litsa the recently divorced teller at my branch is, good luck!