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iMEGA Files Brief with US Court of Appeals


by Hillary LaClair, Senior Editor

                iMEGA (Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association) is far from finished with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, as the internet freedom pressure group has taken further legal action against the bill. Following the last hearing in which iMEGA was gained a good deal of political clout, the organization has filed its brief with the US Court of Appeal, 3rd Circuit, in the case of iMEGA vs. Keisler, et al. iMEGA intends to illustrate the unconstitutionality of the UIGEA by arguing the inability of banking institutions to enforce the bill, the unclear definition of illegal gambling, and the hypocrisy of the actual bill itself.

                As has been said time and again, the UIGEA has prohibited financial systems from processing transactions between U.S. players and the online casinos gambling websites they use. The bill puts the unnecessary burden of enforcing the law on banking institutions that have no legal standing, training or capacity for.

                “This is a very simple argument on which we ask the Court to overturn this law,” reports Joe Brennan Jr., CEO and chairman to iMEGA. “The UIGEA should be ‘void for vagueness,” in that Congress has not defined what an “unlawful internet gambling transaction” is, as they are required. Congress cannot delegate that necessary determination as to what is ‘lawful’ or ‘unlawful’ to US banks and credit card companies.

                “The Department of Treasury, which has been tasked with drafting the regulations for UIGEA, has testified before Congress that they themselves cannot make that determination. Because Congress refused to draft necessary standards, the law is so inherently flawed as to make it totally vague and unenforceable, and we are confident that the Court will overturn it.”

                iMEGA’s appeal is crucial to the industry, which has faced substantial losses from the US market following the UIGEA’s implementation. If the bill is overturned, the revenue that the US could generate from online casino gambling would equal around 6 billion per year; let alone the billions that would be saved in international trade disputes that the US is currently involved with.

                The litigation follows a ruling by Judge Mary Cooper who gave iMEGA legal standing to fight the UIGEA on behalf of its members and the online gambling industry, although having previously dismissed their case.

                The pressure group has enlisted the representation of lead counsel Eric M. Bernstien of Bernstien and Associates, Stephen A. Saltzburg of George Washington University School of Law and Edward J Leyden, iMEGA president and general counsel.