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Thinking About the UIGEA on June 1st

As a US player, I'm naturally curious about the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act, passed in 2006, and what will happen on June 1st of this year. I feel that these issues are misunderstood by a lot of poker players.

The UIGEA doesn't make playing online poker illegal, as some players think, but rather makes it illegal for banks to accept transactions that they think are related to "unlawful internet gambling." The act doesn't clarify what this means, and leaves it up to the banks to make their own judgment. It also mostly concerns deposits, not withdrawls.

June 1 is the final date for compliance with the UIGEA, meaning that banks can be punished for failing to act in accordance. Many have already started to tighten up, so it's not certain whether or not June 1 will see any significant change. I feel like it won't be much of a difference, but many fear that the U.S. market might start to gradually dry up.

On the other hand, if a major bank comes out with a definite stance on the issue, that might be all we need to get the wheels in motion for some actual change and hopefully official unambiguously legal poker in the future.

I'm a little apprehensive as to what will happen, and I hope that the poker climate stays positive.

What do you all think? Any concern?


  1. The UIGEA is a useless gesture. Poker Stars for instance has a dozen different processors they use and any deposit or withdraw from them does not show the name of a poker site anywhere on it, so hence the banks have no clue that the payment you are recieving or making to the processor is related or in cooperation with an online poker site.

  2. Of course poker sites use payment processors and your transactions aren't going to scream "internet gambling" on them.

    But it's a reality that many are predicting "overblocking" of suspicious looking checks and transactions. Banks are going to be going out of their way to be sure they are in compliance with the act so they don't face penalties.

    Now, cashing paper checks will be hard for banks to stop, but deposits, e-checks and wire transfers are in significant danger, and finances getting more complicated in any way is detrimental to the game.

    No one knows exactly how much of an effect it will have, but serious players should absolutely be aware that it's a legitimate concern and shouldn't be dismissed.

    This thread on 2+2 is required reading:


    Players should also join the Poker Players Alliance to continue to fight for our rights.