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Chad Hills, John Kyl Endorsed UIGEA Could End Up Harming Children

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The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was supposedly put in place to protect children. Just a few days removed from the published rules of the UIGEA taking effect, the Bill is shaping up to be a detriment, not a benefit, to children.

"This is a huge victory for families. For the past decade, Congress has tried to pass such legislation, and now it is complete," said Chad Hills, Analyst for Gambling Research and Policy for Focus at the Family Action, after hearing that the rules to the UIGEA had been published.

Two days after those rules were published, the state of New Hampshire immediately became worried that the UIGEA would become a terrible failure. Lotteries were supposed to be exempt from the UIGEA, but as New Hampshire found out, credit card companies are not spending resources to determine which gambling transactions are legal and which are not.

The state of New Hampshire has received many complaints that residents have had their credit cards denied by Visa and MasterCard for online subscriptions to the Powerball, multi-state lottery. The denials came because the credit card companies switched the state lottery's merchant code to one including betting and gambling.

"As these credit card company's and banks openly told members of Congress last year, they do not have the resources to decipher between legal and illegal Internet gambling. They claimed, at the time, that if the UIGEA went into effect, that they would be forced to deny all gambling transactions.

Congress ignored the pleas of the financial institutions and published the rules to the UIGEA anyway late in 2008. Now, the Bill that was created to protect children, threatens to have the opposite effect.

The New Hampshire Lottery believes that they will lose millions of dollars if the credit card companies continue to shut out their customers. The money that will be lost? It is slated to help fund the education system in the state.

Arizona Senator John Kyl was one of the biggest proponents of the UIGEA, however, he made sure that exceptions were carved out for horse racing and lotteries. Now, both of those industries are in danger of being hurt worse by the UIGEA than the sites that Kyl so desperately tried to eliminate.

The horse racing and lottery industries are comprised of legalized organizations in the US. Many of the online gambling sites are based outside of the country. So while credit card companies are stopping the racetracks and lottery's from conducting their business online, the overseas companies go on with business as usual.

In the state of Kentucky, Governor Steve Beshear has launched an attack against the online gambling industry to protect in-state horse racing interests. All of his work may become irrelevant if the UIGEA rules stop the transactions of online horse racing sites from being processed.

The horse racing industry in Kentucky helps fund the state education system similar to the way the lottery does in New Hampshire, or for that matter, in many states throughout the country.

"The government does not realize what they have done by implementing these rules for the UIGEA. Even as the financial institutions warned them of the consequences of their actions, their insistence on hurrying the rules into law could have severe implications to our children all across the US," said legal strategist, Henry Promenoler.

It has been less than a week since the UIGEA rules have been published and already controversy is brewing. It will be interesting to see whether the new administration in the US listens to the cries of the people responsible for shaping their nations children.

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