UIGEA Bill could be delayed for one year

Congress's preoccupation with financial regulation and restructuring could leave the Frank bill out in the cold this year

A rather depressing assessment by the Poker Players Alliance is quoted in the respected poker magazine Cardplayer this week, surmising that HR 2267- Congressman Barney Frank's attempt to legalise and regulate online gambling in the United States - could again be pushed aside as Congress concentrates on the financial issues resulting from the global economic debacle.

The PPA opined that the bill was running out of time and was unlikely to be progressed this month, pushing it out to October 2009.

However, a second and related bill, which would delay the implementations of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act for one year, could still stand a chance of making it through a busy Congressional session, and the PPA will put its weight behind that measure.

“The feedback we got (from a meeting with Representative Frank’s staff this week) was that it’s unlikely that we will hold a hearing in September; however, the door is not closed on that,” PPA Executive Director John Pappas told CardPlayer, speaking about H.R. 2267: The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act.

CardPlayer reports that with that reality in place, the PPA is actively moving on Frank’s other poker-related bill, H.R. 2266: Reasonable Prudence in Regulation Act:, a piece of legislation that would delay the full implementation of the UIGEA from December 1, 2009 to December 1, 2010.

“Quite honestly, the preference of the PPA is to move [H.R. 2266] sooner rather than later, and not wait until October,” said Pappas. “We believe that the bill as it stands right now faces some opposition if it’s a simple delay. However, we’re working with the opposition to see if a compromise could be drafted.”

“We’re hopeful that if we can present to Chairman Frank a compromised bill that could easily go through his committee without too much fighting and debate — that we could get that done possibly in this month,” said Pappas.

“Hopefully, we wouldn’t even have to have a hearing. It could be a mark-up. A hearing is where you sit and talk about the bill. A mark-up is where you actually vote on it,” said Pappas. “The hope from our side is that if we can craft a non-controversial compromise, it is something that could be heard and voted on by the committee this month.”

If it were approved by the committee, the bill could be passed by the House as a typical corrections bill.

Pappas told CardPlayer that the PPA was disappointed to learn that Frank’s main legislative attempt aimed at legalising online gambling probably wouldn’t be the subject of a hearing until at least October.

“Obviously, that’s not what we wanted to hear, but it’s the reality of the Congress and the reality of their schedule,” said Pappas. “What the PPA is going to do is continue to push for it as soon as possible, but in the meantime, build as much support for the legislation both on the committee and off the committee.”

Rep. Frank had previously told Card Player that he hoped to hold a vote on The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act by this [September] month.

That act has 55 co-sponsors in the House, but Pappas expects that number to move “closer to 70” in the next few weeks.

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