Poker News

Recently, Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, a Republican who has been a longtime proponent of making online gaming and poker illegal and a staunch supporter of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), dropped his opposition to several of President Barack Obama’s nominees to the Treasury Department.

With the end of the hold by Kyl, three key nominees to the Treasury Department – Marisa Lago, Mary John Miller, and Charles Collins – passed through Senate confirmation hearings. Kyl’s ending of his opposition was not entirely related to online gaming, however.

Kyl, who wanted the UIGEA to take effect late last year and blocked Treasury appointments due to its delay, was a part of what some would consider to be a keen poker move by the Obama administration. Earlier in the week, Obama notified Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that he would use the Congressional recess period, which started today and ends on Friday, to make recess appointments of many of the nominees that currently face Senate approval.

This move, which has been used by the Oval Office to bypass Senate approval for nominees who were log-jammed by the opposition party, would in effect remove the Senate from having any voice in the matter. Facing a strong bet by the Obama administration, several Republican senators, including Kyl, folded their hands, dropped their opposition, and allowed the nominees to go through.

According to Dan Friedman, a writer with Congress Daily, the UIGEA might have had some effect on Kyl’s decisions. “My understanding is that Kyl placed the hold because he was upset at the delayed implementation of UIGEA,” Friedman told Poker News Daily.

Kyl has maintained his objections to online gaming since he was elected Senator from Arizona in 1994. Prior to 2006, Kyl frequently introduced legislation that would make it a criminal act to participate in online gambling and poker. While his efforts were never passed into law, in 2006 he was one of the chief proponents of a bill introduced by fellow Republican Representative Jim Leach of Iowa to make it illegal for financial institutions to process online gaming transactions. That bill would become the UIGEA and was passed as a rider on a critical piece of national security legislation in a final late night session in September 2006.

Although House of Representatives member Barney Frank (D-MA) has introduced legislation that looks to overturn the UIGEA and tax and regulate the internet gambling industry, the measure has not yet cleared committee. Frank’s Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act (HR 2267) has been held up by other pressing issues facing Congress and the Obama administration. It is also thought that many elected officials don’t want to take a stance on such a divisive issue during an election year.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *