Thursday, June 7, 2007

Bill Proposed to Exempt Skill Games from the UIGEA is reporting that Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida is going to introduce a bill to exempt "games of skill" from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act ("UIGEA").

What does it all mean, though?

Well, games of skill may or may not have been covered by the original act, which cites "games subject to chance." Largely, such a bill would clarify what is and isn't covered by the UIGEA. The major implication is that poker would be carved out of the law's coverage, but other games like chess, mahjong, and bridge would also be removed.

And so would video games...

...or at least it seems reasonable to assume that most, if not all, would also be carved out.

Of course, it seems likely some significant opposition will arise, as online poker (and the debt people have incurred as a result of online poker) was a major driving force behind the UIGEA in the first place.

However, returning to the video game issue, the vast majority of games are clearly within the realm of "games of skill." Games of chance are like lotteries, roulette, and slot machines. Most video games employ significantly more skill.

Theoretically (depending on the text of the bill, of course), this would mean a company that allowed players to bet round by round on games of, say, Quake 4 or Halo 3 would be legal, and the payments to and from this system would not fall in the jurisdiction of the UIGEA.

The flip side, however, is that casinos in Second Life would still be problematic if they ran slot machines, roulette, lotteries, or other games of chance.

I want to re-iterate, this bill has yet to be introduced, much less passed or signed into law. We're still a ways off from what I've described, but if you want to be able to place bets on your skills in the next big FPS, you should consider supporting this bill.

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