'' UIGEA Historical Background | American Congress | Abramoff
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It is commonly known that since 1998 the United States Congress has made numerous attempts to pass some form of Internet gambling legislation. Untill the UIGEA was passed all attempts had failed because the Congress would usually run out of time before the pending legislation cleared committee hearings and was scheduled for a vote by the House of Congress.

It is also worth mentioning that it was not the general public asking for changes and prohibition. It is our experience talking to Americans that it is not a law that holds majority support among the American population.
In 2006 the Republicans, who had been in control of the Congress since 1994, were in trouble. On a daily basis the media brought news with allegations of government corruption. The notorious lobbyist Jack Abramoff who had been advocating certain gambling interests was accused and later convicted of mail fraud and conspiracy. 

As a result of this conservative lawmakers created a ten-point “American Values Agenda” which among many things were supposed to prohibit Internet gambling. Two representatives then prepared two different bills named the GoodLatte Bill & the Leach Bill.

Source: Lawrence G. Walters, GamblingLawUpdate, Breaking Down the UIGEA, page 1-2 (page removed)