Barney Frank Internet Gambling Bill to be Marked Up Tuesday
Poker News Daily has learned that HR 6870, which was proposed by Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) on Thursday, is scheduled to be marked up in the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday. The measure is one of five that will be considered at 1:00pm ET in room 2128 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.
The bill, entitled the “Payment Systems Protection Act of 2008,” prohibits the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve from enacting any regulation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) except “to the extent as any such regulation pertains to wagering of the type that is prohibited under chapter 178 of title 28, United States Code (relating to professional and amateur sports protection).” In other words, all regulations would be struck down immediately, except for those that concern online sports betting.
After suspension of the current regulations, HR 6870 then calls for an “administrative law judge” to work with the Treasury and Federal Reserve to “develop and implement regulations.” The bill mandates that the new guidelines should “include a definition of the term ‘unlawful Internet gambling’ after conducting a full economic impact study of the proposed regulations.” The bill was officially introduced on September 11th and has one co-sponsor, Republican Congressman from New York Peter King.
Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative (SSIGI) spokesperson Michael Waxman told Poker News Daily,
There seems to be a general consensus that a solution is needed now. I believe that’s the reason why Congressman Frank is continuing to push this issue. He has a sense of what the financial services sector can bear. He wants to make sure that they are not charged with enforcing the UIGEA on their own.
Frank has been the driving force behind legalizing internet gambling in the United States. In April, he introduced HR 5767, the first version of the Payments System Protection Act, in coordination with Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex.). The bill was ultimately defeated in Committee along with an amendment proposed by King. Frank also introduced HR 2046, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act, which sets up a complete framework for licensing and regulating internet gambling in the United States. The bill was introduced in 2007 in response to the passage of the UIGEA one year earlier.
Congressman Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) is the latest lawmaker besides Frank to introduce legislation that may be beneficial to online poker. Sessions’ HR 6663 interprets the UIGEA to mean that only online sportsbooks are against federal law. The bill has garnered four co-sponsors, but has drawn the disapproval of the Poker Players Alliance, the online poker industry’s major lobbying group. The bill has language in it which implies that the legal status of online poker in the United States is cloudy.
HR 6870 is scheduled to be marked up in Committee on Tuesday. During the mark-up process, amendments can be added as needed. If approved by Committee, HR 6870 may be scheduled for a vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. Congress has just a few weeks remaining in session before adjournment for general elections.
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