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MasterCard Lobbying For US Online Gambling Regulations

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MasterCard and Visa have adhered to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act rules that went into affect in 2010, but that does not mean either credit card processor is happy with the law. MasterCard has even continued to lobby for Internet gaming regulations in the US.

In the third quarter of 2010, MasterCard spent $840,000 in lobbying the federal government. Among those issues that MasterCard was lobbying for was a change in policy when dealing with Internet gambling in the country. The credit card processor is losing millions, if not billions, of dollars by not allowing US residents to use the cards to transfer money to online gambling sites.

The telling sing of how much MasterCard is spending specifically on Internet gambling might be seen in the jump in lobbying money spent in the third quarter of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009. In 2010, when lawmakers were attempting to push through a bill to overturn the UIGEA, MasterCard spent twenty-four percent more than in the third quarter of 2009.

Their efforts, like all the groups lobbying for the elimination of online gambling prohibition, fell on deaf ears. Although the laws were not changed, key legislators did join the fight for regulations to the online gaming industry in 2010.

As the year ended, Senator Harry Reid, who represents Nevada, pushed a bill that would have regulated online poker. The bill was blasted by Conservatives, a move they have been prone to repeat since they were the driving force behind the UIGEA. Senator Reid abandoned his efforts to pass the bill in 2010, but vowed to push the issue in the new year.

MasterCard stands to gain the most if the laws are changed in the US. The country's online gambling market is still considered to be the top market in the world, despite the current laws. If the laws were to change, MasterCard would be one of the main payment processor links between the players and online gaming sites.

The company may gain some relief in the form of state regulations. California, New Jersey, and Florida are considering regulating online poker. If that occurs, a determination would have to be made as to whether MasterCard would violate the UIGEA by processing payments to and from players in the states where the poker becomes regulated.

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