CRS Report on Proposed Internet Gambling Regulations

The good folks at opencrs (“Congressional Research Reports for the People”) have posted a recent Congressional Research Service report describing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act passed last year, and implementation regulations issued last month by the Fed and the Treasury Department.

Here’s the Summary contained in the Report:

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) seeks to cut off the flow of revenue to unlawful Internet gambling businesses. It outlaws receipt of checks, credit card charges, electronic funds transfers, and the like by such businesses. It also enlists the assistance of banks, credit card issuers and other payment system participants to help stem the flow. To that end, it authorizes the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve System (the Agencies), in consultation with the Justice Department, to promulgate implementing regulations. Proposed regulations have been announced with a comment period that ends on December 12, 2007, 72 Fed. Reg. 56680 (October 4, 2007).

The proposal addresses the feasibility of identifying and interdicting the flow of illicit Internet gambling proceeds in five pay systems: cards systems, money transmission systems, wire transfer systems, check collection systems, and the Automated Clearing House (ACH) system. It suggests that, except for financial institutions that deal directly with illegal Internet gambling operators, tracking the flow of revenue within the wire transfer, check collection, and ACH systems is not feasible at this point. It proposes exempting them from the regulations’ requirements, but invites comments that offer alternative approaches. It charges those with whom illegal Internet gambling operators may deal directly within those three systems, and participants in the card and money transmission systems, to adopt policies and procedures to enable them to identify the nature of their customers’ business, to employ customer agreements barring tainted transactions, and to establish and maintain remedial steps to deal with tainted transactions when they are identified. Introductory remarks explain why the Agencies rejected a [“check list of unlawful Internet gambling operators”] approach. Several bills have been introduced to augment these efforts, including H.R. 2046 (Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act), H.R. 2607 (Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act) and H.R. 2610 (Skill Game Protection Act).

The Report is a great read for folks with an interest in the regulation of online gambling.

Below are links to the govtrac.us website for pending legislation referred to in the Report:

  • HR 2046 (Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act)
  • HR 2607 (Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act)
  • HR 2610 (Skill Game Protection Act)

NFB adds new plaintiffs in Target litigation

Last month I summarized the National Federation of the Blind v. Target Corp. litigation, and noted a recent ruling by Judge Patel certifying two classes in the case.

Last week, presumably with the ADA’s nexus requirement in mind, plaintiffs filed their second amended class action complaint. New plaintiffs named in the complaint include Melissa Williamson (who alleges that the inaccessibility of Target.com has deterred her from shopping at Target stores) and James P. Marks (who echoes Ms. Williamson’s allegation, and adds that such alleged inaccessibility has forced him to have to pay an aide to accompany him when he does shop at Target stores.). Plaintiffs do not raise any new claims in their amended pleading.

Presently the court is considering the parties’ submissions regarding notice to the newly-certified classes.

Internet Tax Freedom Act expiration extended to November 2014

Yesterday President Bush signed into law HR 3678, the Internet Tax Freedom Act Amendments Act of 2007. Thus the law now provides that “[n]o State or political subdivision thereof may impose any of the following taxes during the period beginning November 1, 2003, and ending November 1, 2014: (1) Taxes on Internet access and (2) Multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.” Certain grandfathering provisions applicable to states that tax Internet access were similarly extended until November 1, 2014.

Read more about the amendment at webpronews.com and TechCrunch.