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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Payment Processor Comes to US in Hopes of Gaming Bill Passage

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For all of the skepticism in the poker community that online gaming legislation is a distant hope and not likely in 2010, the actions of major companies relay a different message. Online poker companies seem to have faith that the United States law will change, casinos like Harrah’s built a division around the idea, and organizations like the Poker Players Alliance base their reputation on it. Now an online payment processing company can be added to the list, as UC Group Ltd. established a U.S. subsidiary in anticipation of a regulated online gaming marketplace.

Payment processors have had their share of difficulties in the U.S. market. Most recently, Douglas Rennick of Account Services has been faced with an indictment based on felony charges issued by the Department of Justice. And companies like Neteller, Firepay, and ePassporte have left the U.S. after losing significant battles with the government. For UC Group to establish an American presence at this moment in time, with no significant recent changes in the furthering of Congressional legislation, is quite the statement of confidence that progress is in sight.

UC Group made the announcement on February 9 that it launched a U.S.-based subsidiary called SecureTrading Inc., which will provide online payment processing services for U.S. customers when the UIGEA is repealed. The company looks to provide safe and secure financial transactions and meet all consumer protection requirements that future U.S. laws will require. And heading up the company are three former executives from MasterCard; Chris Tom is Chairman, Ted Friedman is Chief Operating Officer, and T.J. Sharkey is Head of Customer Sales and Support. All are prepared to work with online gaming companies, which will be regulated upon the passage of the law, in order to assist with player registration, verification and validation of age and location, assist with tax computation and collection, and protect against money laundering, fraud, and gambling problems.

UC Group Chairman Kobus Paulsen said, “Individually and collectively Chris, Ted and T.J. have extensive experience in the Card and Banking industry for providing Internet payment services across multiple market sectors. They bring substantial value to SecureTrading Inc. and our customer base as we prepare for the passage and implementation of online gambling regulation in the U.S.”

Thom added, “Momentum for regulating Internet gambling in the U.S. has been building for some time. As Congress prepares to take the final step, SecureTrading Inc.’s turnkey system is primed to enable our customers to go live the moment Internet gambling is regulated.”

When that will be is anyone’s guess. Not much news has come from Washington, D.C. since the December 3, 2009 hearing held by Rep. Barney Frank, though more co-sponsors have recently signed on to support the proposed legislation. The UIGEA implementation is only postponed until June 1, 2010, and only three months remain for Frank to push his bill for a vote in the House, then ensure passage by the Senate before President Obama has the opportunity to sign it into law. In the scheme of a Congressional timeline, there isn’t much to work with. However, if companies like UC Group are prepared to invest time and funds in establishing a U.S. presence in anticipation of a new law, there might be some behind-the-scenes optimism that the public is not yet privy to.

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