Next Wednesday, July 21st, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing succinctly entitled, “HR 2267, Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act.” The bill, introduced by Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA), establishes a comprehensive licensing and regulatory framework for the internet gambling industry in the United States.
Unlike past hearings, which have had a 10:00am ET start, Wednesday’s hearing will kick off after lunch at 1:00pm ET in Room 2128 of the Rayburn House Office Building. No list of witnesses has been released and, according to a House Financial Services Committee spokesperson, no markup of HR 2267 will occur. The bill has attracted 69 co-sponsors, both Republicans and Democrats, after being introduced in May 2009. However, only a half-dozen lawmakers have signed on in 2010.
Looking forward to the July 21st internet gambling hearing was Poker Players Alliance (PPA) Executive Director John Pappas, who told Poker News Daily on Wednesday afternoon, “We appreciate Chairman Frank calling another hearing on HR 2267. We hope this is the final step toward an eventual vote in his Committee on this legislation before the August recess. The PPA and the poker community stand ready to secure its passage.” The PPA has been busy registering members at the 2010 World Series of Poker (WSOP), whose Main Event is playing out at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Also eyeing next week’s Capitol Hill debate on internet gambling, which will be the first in the House Financial Services Committee since last December, is Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) Chairman Joe Brennan. “Hearings are nice; they keep the ball in the air,” Brennan told Poker News Daily upon hearing the news. “What’s needed are votes: committee votes, floor votes. The i-gaming lobby has been working too hard for too long. It deserves more than a hearing. But, we’ll wait and see who will appear as witnesses. I’d like to see John Pappas finally get the opportunity to appear before the House Financial Services Committee and make the case for the players.”
The December 3rd hearing in the Committee featured testimony from Morongo Band of Mission Indians Tribal Chairman Robert Martin, Wired Safety Executive Director Parry Aftab, John F. Kennedy School of Government Professor Malcolm Sparrow, National Council on Problem Gambling Executive Director Keith Whyte, the Dowling Advisory Group’s Jim Dowling, Independent Community Bankers of America’s Samuel Vallandingham, and YouBet.com Executive Chairman Mike Brodsky.
Curiously absent from last December’s hearing were officials from the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve, who had, just days prior, issued a six-month delay in the compliance of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Spencer Bachus (R-AL) called for a hearing with officials from the two government agencies, which will likely be represented next week.
Credit card companies, banks, and other financial institutions had until June 1st to comply with the regulations of the UIGEA, a deadline that has had seemingly little effect on the industry. Nevertheless, the PPA, iMEGA, and other organizations have continued to push for regulated internet gaming at both the federal and state levels.
Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for a full witness list for Wednesday’s hearing, which will likely be published on Monday.