Internet Bet Regulations Delayed Six Months

Regulations for enforcement of the federal Internet gambling law have been delayed.

Horse racing officials said the industry bought some time with the announcement regulations tied to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act won’t take effect until June 1, 2010.

The UIGEA contains provisions for pari-mutuel wagering under the Interstate Horseracing Act. But the National Thoroughbred Racing Association asked the United States Treasury Department and Federal Reserve to delay action because of a provision that allows financial institutions to “overblock” transactions otherwise legal, such as Internet wagering on horse races.

Simulcasts and online wagering on horse races are expressly excluded from the definition of “restricted transactions,” but the regulations provide a legal safe harbor for companies that want to use the overblock provision, the NTRA said in a Nov. 27 release.

The regulations were to have taken effect Dec. 1, which means U.S. government officials have six months to take action. The banking community, which provides the mechanism for online bets, also supported a delay.

“This is an important win for the racing industry,” NTRA president and chief executive officer Alex Waldrop said in a statement.“Horse racing has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in technology and infrastructure to develop the market for advance deposit wagering. That market now represents nearly 15% of the $14-billion market for pari-mutuel wagering.

“We will continue to work diligently with the financial services industry and our ADW service providers to ensure that online pari-mutuel wagers are processed in accordance with the Interstate Horseracing Act.”

The UIGEA was passed in 2006. Regulations have been pending for more than two years.