US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank is preparing legislation that would repeal the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, the US law that bans non-skill based internet gambling.
The move follows reports that EU could file a World Trade Organization complaint over the law, which forbids European companies offering online gambling to Americans. The ban has more famously resulted in European citizens being jailed and fined in the United States for allowing Americans to play on their sites, despite the sites being completely legal and regulated in the EU countries they are hosted in.
According to Reuters, the bill may be presented to the US House of Representatives in the next month.
Silicon Alley Insider reports that the ban would legalize online poker, but this is incorrect. Online poker in the United States is already legal (although it can’t be directly advertised, hence the .net free to play ads) with the current ban only applying to non-skilled games, such as casino style games.
Hopefully a repeal will put pressure on other countries, in particular Australia to repeal similar bans. Legal casino style online gaming based in the United States would have trade implications for countries such as Australia that have free trade agreements with the United States.