Internet gaming regulation to be revisited with a new administration in power

Online gambling's leading US legislative supporter, Congressman Barney Frank, is ready to again throw his hat into the ring in trying to bring some consistency and fairness to US political positions on Internet gambling. Frank, a Democrat who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, has confirmed that he will re-introduce legislation favourable to online gambling to a political scene that has radically changed following the inauguration of President Barak Obama.

In an interview with the UK Financial Times this week, Frank confirmed his intention to re-energise his legislative proposals in the near future, and commented on the the possibly different political tone now that the draconian Bush administration has passed on.

Frank told the FT: "I expect an Obama Department of Justice to be less zealous about locking people up. These outrageous arrests in transit – they should be stopping that stuff." The comment was clearly a reference to the long incarceration of ex-BetonSports exec David Carruthers, apprehended whilst passing through an Amercian airport well over two years ago and still under hourse arrest and untried, and to Peter Dick, non-executive chairman of Sportingbet who was lucky to escape a similar fate.

The Financial Times noted that "public opinion was demanding the right to gamble online," spurring Frank's decision to reintroduce legislation. The proposed bill may take on a similar form to HR 2046, which proposed a licensing, strict regulation and taxation regime in United States.

Frank also hinted that the controversial UIGEA regulations, rammed through in the dying days of the Bush administration, may also come under review in terms of the Midnight Rule Act introduced recently by Representative Jerrold Nadler (see previous InfoPowa report). The regulations, widely criticised for a lack of precision and resisted by the financial institutions required to enforce them, support the UIGEA, which seeks to disrupt US finanacial transactions with online gambling entities.

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