Back in 2006, the Unlawful internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIEGA) was brought into effect in the United States of America. This was a huge move towards banning online poker from becoming an entity. One of the men who was behind the introduction of that industry-changing law is Jon Kyl. Now, that same man is making his return to the US Senate thanks to the decision of the Governor for Arizona, Doug Ducey.
Ducey recently opted to appoint Kyl as the Arizona representative in the Senate, taking over the seat of John McCain. Following a battle with cancer, McCain passed away in recent days.
For poker players, the only good part of the news of Kyl’s appointment is that he cannot stay until 2022 – when the regular term ends. The only way he is able to remain in his position is for him to be elected. According to the laws in Arizona, a specific election needs to be held in the year of 2020. This requires votes to be cast on who will be the person to fill the seat on a more permanent basis until the end of term. Despite this, Kyl has already stated that he does not hold interest in serving in the Senate for the remainder of the term. However, many have speculated that once he takes his seat, he’s quite likely to go back on what he has said.
Even before assisting in the creation of the UIGEA, Kyl had a certain dislike of the gambling industry. It was back in the 90s that he wrote his own piece of legislation alongside Bob Goodlatte – another Representative – that looked to completely prohibit any form of online gambling, with the only exceptions being horse and dog racing.
Kyl’s History with the Law
The piece of legislation that Kyl wrote back then never made it through the legal channels, although it seemed as though both he and Goodlatte had no desire to be defeated a second time. So, what did they do to assure a victory? Cheated, like all good politicians tend to do. The UIGEA law was snuck inside an alternative bill – the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act – which had nothing to do with gambling. Yet, it was known that this Act would receive approval, giving Kyl the affirmation he needed. At the time, the UIGEA didn’t even go through a discussion or debate. It was basically automatically approved.
The introduction of the UIGEA made the transfer of money from illegal gambling sites a criminal activity, although the Act never chose to define “illegal gambling”. Yet, a vast number of sites were shut down out of caution for this, meaning that online poker went through a bit of a negative turning point.
The laws relating to the UIGEA weren’t officially published until 2010. This was mainly due to the fact that multiple questions were left without answers, including the one about how the bill should be enforced. When several Congress members began their own discussion about dissolving the bill, Kyl used his conniving tactics again. He threatened to make sure that several nominees for the Treasure Department would be blocked. In that sense, Kyl got his won way and the bill remained.