It’s only two people, but it’s still something.Earlier this month, Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) penned a letter to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, expressing the same dissatisfaction with the proposed UIGEA regulations that online poker players have already made known.

In the letter, they request that the agencies clarify what transactions should be blocked, as financial institutions may very well just use the shotgun approach, blocking anything that remotely resembles a gaming transaction.This would obviously cause problems for companies and individuals trying to make non-gaming transactions that may then be held up.Additionally, the Senators feel that financial institutions would be shouldered with a great burden should the regulations stay as proposed, as they would be responsible for determined what transactions should and should not be allowed.

At the end of the letter, they suggest separating rules for those activities for which there is “settled federal law.”Thus, poker would be safe, as there is nothing in federal law which makes it illegal.

Below is the letter, in its entirety:


Dear Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke,

The effectiveness of any law is reliant on sound implementation. Federal regulations are intended to provide clarity and guidance for those subjected to their reach. The value of such regulations is to prevent non-compliance while minimizing wasted effort, time, and cost by those being regulated. Clear rules also promote interstate commerce by facilitating uniform enforcement.

In this spirit, your agencies have an opportunity to provide additional guidance in the implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of2006 (UIGEA). While the October Notice of Proposed Rulemaking contains certain guidance for the regulated community, it leaves sufficient ambiguity as to what sort of transactions are to be blocked. In failing to provide more detail, the proposed rules would inordinately burden every bank, credit union, credit card company, money transmitting business and payment system in the country, leading to non-uniform compliance and confusion. This issue is particularly important, as most federal and state gambling laws predate the Internet, and are less than specific as to their application to particular practices or circumstances.

The extensive public comments received on this issue highlight the likelihood that risk-averse financial institutions will simply choose to block every transaction that may be interpreted or could resemble gambling, whether legal or not. Knowing that this is not your intention, we write to urge that any final rules contain a list of restricted transactions and instances that are covered by the law and the corresponding rules.

As an alternative, we suggest you consider separating the rules into those forms of activities for which there is settled federal law (i.e., defined by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA)) and those that are not. This would allow immediate implementation for known activities, while providing greater time to determine what other transactions are to be captured.

We thank you in advance for your consideration.


Sen. John E. Sununu [R-NH]

Sen. Pete Domenici [R-NM]


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