The Wednesday, July 21st hearing on Barney Frank’s proposed bill to license and regulate online poker and gambling in the United States resulted in the scheduling of a mark up, or vote hearing on the bill for next Tuesday, July 28th – fulfilling Frank’s December promise to push Internet gambling legislation to a mark up by the end of July 2010. This congressional hearing, if successful, will mean that the bill will be sent to the House of Representatives to possibly advance farther in Congress. This is the same process that all bills go through before they are ultimately rejected or passed into law.

During Tuesday’s mark up, changes could be made to the bill that clarify some of its main points or add to the overall legislation that it could enact. Although nowhere near passage yet, the progress of Frank’s HR 2267 is a good sign for Internet poker players as a mark up hearing is a much more serious and intensive session that many bills never reach.

The proposed bill – called the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act – will provide a legal frame work that all gambling web sites, including on poker sites, will have to follow if they wish to serve residents of the United States. Within the bill, there are several regulations that prevent underage gambling and monitor problem gambling – two problems that many opponents of online gambling will want resolved before considering the online gambling regulation in the United States. Although there will be some difficult regulations included in the bill, its passage will set a precedent for the legalization of online poker in the United States and the reentering of some major online players that withdrew from the US market after the UIGEA was enacted in 2006.

Based on the bill, it could still be possible for United States residents to access and participate in online poker play at illegal poker sites. However, with the passage of the bill, most proponents believe that the vast majority of major online gambling sites will welcome the opportunity to welcome back United States players under a new progressive framework.

Upon hearing that the mark up date had been set for HR 2267, Michael Waxman, a spokesperson for Safe and Secure Internet Gambling (SSIG) commented that he felt it “demonstrates that Congress is serious about moving the bill forward.” Waxman also predicted that, if passed, the bill would more fully protect online gamblers, create more than 30,000 new jobs and generate state and federal money over the next ten years totaling more than $72 billion.

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