UIGEA Challenge by iMEGA to See Appeals Action in July

Lawyers for the case have persevered since 2007, and the Interactive Media & Gaming Association (iMEGA) will finally see another courtroom on July 6, 2009, and with a favorable outcome, will be allowed to proceed. On that day, the US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia will determine, on merits decided by the judge, whether oral arguments will be heard in iMEGA v. Attorney-General USA, et al.

The case in question began in September of 2007 when attorneys for iMEGA went before a judge in the US District Court to request a restraining order against the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). It was approximately six months before Judge Mary L. Cooper granted iMEGA standing in the case and allowed the case to be heard. But at the same time, Judge Cooper failed to rule on the case, ultimately dismissing it because Congress had the right to pass the UIGEA in a constitutional manner. That court stepped back and suggested the issue should be decided by a “higher authority,” meaning the US Court of Appeals, and if necessary, the US Supreme Court.

It took nearly another year to follow through with the US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, but the iMEGA case will be given its chance in July of 2009. In addition, the Court has forwarded the iMEGA motion to add information to the record regarding the blocking of state lottery payments in New Hampshire and South Dakota by credit card companies due to UIGEA rules to the Court’s Merit Panel for a decision. Success on this matter will only aid the iMEGA case and make it more difficult for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to make one of their key arguments.

iMEGA chairman Joe Brennan Jr. commented, “We’re very happy the Court is moving forward on this, and we’re confident the Court will consider the real-world effect of the law, regardless of the DOJ’s opposition.”

It can be said that iMEGA is in a good position to find success in the Court in July, as a staff of skilled lawyers are on the side of internet gambling freedoms, and as the Court has already recognized iMEGA as having standing as a representative of the internet gambling industry. Cooper’s original decision also acknowledged that the UIGEA has failed in some respects

With iMEGA fighting for “digital civil rights” and moving forward in several months, it will have its work cut out for it against the well-funded and staffed Justice Department. But this non-profit organization has been dedicated to the continued growth and innovation of the internet, and subsequently the fight against the UIGEA, for some time and will not stop until internet rights are put back in their rightful places – the hands of American citizens.

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