Jul 21 2010

House to Meet Today on Licensing and Regulating Internet Gambling

written by: Will under News, Poker Law Comments: Comments Off

At 2 p.m. today, the House Financial Services Committee will meet to discuss the bill by Barney Frank (Democrat, Massachusetts) to replace the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act – after criticism by other representatives such as Shelly Berkley, who referred to the UIGEA as a “bust.” Although Frank had previously vowed to force a committee vote by July, this meeting will simply be an opportunity for the committee – of which Frank is the head – to hear testimony on behalf of the bill and discuss the specific legislation that it would enact, if passed. If the bill is successful, the UIGEA may face a repeal and the United States could begin treating online poker similarly to the way in which it is handled in countries like the United Kingdom.

The promise by Frank to bring the bill to the House was in December of last year when, during a previous hearing on the bill (HR 2267), it was discussed but with no further action. Earlier this May, The Democrat from Washington, Jim McDermott introduced a similar bill that would impose taxes on online gambling activities – thus legalizing and regulating all online gambling activities. Until this month, the House has not made any statements on their position on online gambling or its licensing or regulation since the December meeting.

During today’s meeting, several key figures will be speaking in favor of Frank’s bill, including:

Annie DukeRepresentative of the PPA and notable professional poker player
Ed WilliamsCEO, DFCU (Discovery Federal Credit Union)
Lynn MalerbaChair of Connecticut Mohegan Tribe

There will also be several people speaking in opposition of the bill, including:

Michael FaganConsultant, Law Enforcement – Terrorism Prevention
Tom MalkasianCommerce Casino, Director

Frank has already achieved some success in preventing the prohibition of online poker by effectively delaying the UIGEA from going into effect for 6 months. After petitioning Congress to delay the UIGEA, Frank received support from not only the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, but more than nineteen Congressmen who decided to support the delay after news that banking institutions had begun blocking transactions to horse races – in spite of the fact that racing is not prohibited by the UIGEA. Although the delay will not reverse any block currently in effect, it will likely prevent further blocks from occurring.

The head of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) stated earlier this week that the hearing is an entirely normal process and that a vote, or markup, will be expected on the Frank bill as early as next week.

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