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New Report Lists UIGEA as one of the Five Dumbest Bans

6 April, 2009,  Peter Bowman, Staff writer

A recent editorial in the Hawiian Reporter has taken a look at some of America's stupidest prohibitions, and surprise surprise, near the top of the list came the UIGEA.

UIGEA, a piece of legislation that makes it illegal for  financial institutions to facilitate payments between US residents and online gambling sites.  The law has been ruled illegal by the WTO, determined to be a breach of international free trade commitments by the European Union, and now has been ranked as one of US lawmaker's dumbest pieces of legislation.

Criteria used in the report included:

  • a strong case for marginal social harm can not be presented for the ban;

  • the product or service banned is one which the public has a strong interest in participating in;

  • the law must be one which the government actually tries to enforce.  Certain ridiculous laws remain in effect but in practice are never enforced so are in reality redundant;

  • the law must be either statewide or national in scope and operation.

On the top of the list was a the national ban on the cancer treatment Provenge.  Also making the grade were laws making it illegal to buy a coffin from an unlicensed dealer, and the nationwide ban on selling horse meat.

Number 2 on the list was UIGEA.  The Hawiian Reporter's take on this ban includes the following comments:

"Americans like to gamble. As of 2008, 48 states had legal gambling in some form, and today 38 allow the operation of casinos, slot parlors, or card rooms.6
"Nearly all Americans approve of the activity—around 90 percent in one recent poll. However, a 2006 federal law, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), places absurd restrictions on banks in an attempt to outlaw Internet gambling.




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