Over the past year the Interactive Entertainment and Gaming Association has been engaged in a protracted court battle with the U.S. Department of Justice. iMEGA are seeking to overturn the UIGEA and, after originally being defeated, were granted a second hearing at the court of appeals.
After a number of briefs were exchanged back and forth a provisional date was set for the hearing of oral arguments in April. However, a wrinkle appeared when iMEGA requested permission to include a new piece of evidence. State lotteries in a number of U.S. states had had their financial transactions blocked by banks afraid of contravening the UIGEA. This was happening even though the UIGEA specifically states that lotteries are exempt from its nebulous rulings.
The DoJ opposed this new evidence, arguing that it had not been presented in the original case and so could not be included now. The issue was passed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals Merit Panel and the hearing was delayed. Now it seems as though a decision is near, with the Philladelphia, PA court sending both parties a letter to confirm that the date for the appeal hearing would be on July 6th.
Even if the courts decide not to allow the use of the lottery problems, iMEGA’s lawyers are still confident that they can successfully show the UIGEA to be unconstitutional. The group’s chairman Joe Brennan Jr. was upbeat about their chances: “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.”
The hearing of oral arguments is not guaranteed, the court’s memo stating that “The panel will determine whether there will be oral argument, and if so, the amount of time alloted for each side.” A full copy of the letter can be view here.