Poker News

A hearing in the House Financial Services Committee scheduled for Friday, April 16th has been postponed. No makeup date has been announced for the discussion, which was to center on two internet gambling bills proposed by Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA).

The hearing was set to feature debate over “governmental perspectives” of HR 2266 (Reasonable Prudence in Regulation Act) and HR 2267 (Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act). Frank introduced both measures last May. HR 2266 delays mandatory financial services industry compliance with the regulations of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) by one year, while HR 2267 establishes a full framework for internet gambling outfits to solicit real money customers from the United States.

No markup of either bill was planned in Friday’s hearing, which no longer appears on the official website of the House Financial Services Committee. A spokesperson for the Committee, Steve Adamske, told Poker News Daily on Monday, “We had a previously scheduled event in Massachusetts,” although he could not elaborate on what event precluded Frank from being in Washington, D.C. Frank is the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, which was set to convene on Friday at 10:00am ET in Room 2128 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

A representative of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the industry’s main lobbying voice on Capitol Hill, told Poker News Daily that a make up date would likely be announced in the near future, although none was available at press time. HR 2267 boasts 66 co-sponsors spanning the political spectrum, while HR 2266 has 55. Adamske could also not speculate on when the hearing would be rescheduled.

The news of the delay comes just six weeks removed from mandatory financial services industry compliance with the regulations of the UIGEA, which are set to go into full effect on June 1st. On the TwoPlusTwo forums, posters were growing increasingly frustrated as the June 1st deadline draws nearer. “Pilkain” noted, “How can my state government sell lottery tickets, but, oh no, internet poker is the devil! I love my country, but we have some pretty stupid rules. It seems the government likes to regulate too many minuscule things these days.”

Others members of the online poker community chose to remain slightly more upbeat: “I think withdrawals are gonna be fine still. Basically, the game is just gonna be even more dried up than it already is. Good thing two casinos near me are getting table games this summer,” wrote “cashgamepoker500.”

In November, representatives of the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve granted a six-month extension in industry compliance with the regulations of the UIGEA until June 1st. In the interim, it was thought that legislation clarifying the muddled 2006 law would be crafted, but none has come to fruition four months later. Meanwhile, the PPA is looking to strike a deal with UIGEA proponent Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), who was one of the main locomotives behind the 2006 law, to absolve online poker from the final UIGEA rules.

Hearings are scheduled this week in the House Financial Services Committee covering foreclosures, housing financing, the Home Affordable Modification Program, and the Community Reinvestment Act. Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for the latest on the looming UIGEA compliance deadline.

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