Relax, your World of
Warcraft addiction is safe. Your Party Poker addiction, however, is in a
bit of peril as U.S. Congress passed legislation to end Internet gaming
(gambling). More specifically, the House of Representatives and Senate over the
weekend approved a bill that would make it illegal for banks and credit-card
companies to make payments to online gambling sites.
International online gaming companies PartyGaming Plc,
Sportingbet, and 888 Plc are likely to pull out of the United States. According
to this Reuters report, PartyGaming
generates about 78 percent of its revenue from the United States, while
Sportingbet gets about 62 percent there. More details from this Citywire story:
Provisions in the
bill, in a section labelled the 'Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of
2006', outlaw the processing of payments between US gamblers and on-line gaming
companies. Although the act makes unlawful the receipt by a gambling business of
proceeds or money in connection with unlawful internet gambling, it does not
clarify the definition of unlawful gambling. But PartyGaming says that if the
bill is signed it will be practically impossible for it to provide US residents
with access to its real money poker and other real money gaming sites.
Analysts say that this law won’t go unchallenged, but for
now, President Bush’s signature looks to be the nail in the coffin.