Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law

First Page



In recent years, gambling on the Internet has evolved into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. The industry has been particularly entrenched in the United States, whose citizens at one time accounted for up to one-half of all Internet gambling revenues. However, the landscape of Internet gambling in the United States changed drastically in 2006, when President George W Bush signed into law the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The crucial provision of the UIGEA is its prohibition of the acceptance of payments, made by United States banks and creditors, to purveyors of unlawful Internet gambling enterprises. By targeting United States financial institutions instead of individual gamblers, the UIGEA attempts to indirectly prohibit Internet gambling within U.S. borders.

The UIGEA, however, is not without both legal and pragmatic problems. This Note seeks to illustrate those problems and to predict how the UIGEA will continue to affect the Internet gambling industry. First, the Note provides a background of prior attempts at regulation of Internet gambling, both at the state and federal level. Second, it engages in a textual analysis of the UIGEA, recognizing potential legal arguments both for and against the law. Third, the Note touches on how the UIGEA has affected an ongoing trade dispute between the United States and Antigua and Barbuda. Finally, the Note recognizes potential enforcement problems raised by the UIGEA, even if all of its provisions are legally sound.