Barney Frank's big day today

House Financial Services Committee hearings start midmorning tomorrow

The next step in Congressman Barney Frank's latest attempt to legalise online gambling in the United States takes place mid-morning tomorrow - December 3rd 2009 - when he chairs a hearing by the House Financial Services Committee in Washington DC.

The hearing will be streamed live from the Committee's website and can be accessed at http://www.house.gov/apps/list/hearing/financialsvcs_dem/hr_112409.shtml.

Experts on existing technologies and their application in the fields of online security and consumer safety are expected to testify, hopefully exploding some of the inaccurate myths that anti-Internet gambling politicians have used in the past to oppose legalisation.

With the recent postponement to June 2010 of the UIGEA regulations (see previous InfoPowa reports) it is likely that the main focus will be on the legalisation issue, although two bills are due for discussion, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act (HR 2267), which seeks to legalise, regulate and tax online gambling, and the Reasonable Prudence in Regulation Act (HR2266), which originally sought to delay the implementation of the UIGEA regulations by 12 months.

Online gambling advocacy groups such as the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative and the million-strong Poker Players Alliance will have representatives at the hearing, where most of the Committee's 41 Democrats and 29 Republicans are expected to attend.

This week the PPA launched a new initiative to persuade voters to contact their political representatives and again urge them to support the bills at the hearings.

"I think we have 60 000 to 100 000 members who reside in the Financial Services Committee districts," PPA executive director John Pappas commented earlier this week. "We need to make sure those voters continue telling their lawmakers to attend meetings and support their right to play."

Pro-online gambling supporters will no doubt again see veteran anti-Internet gambling politicians opposing any changes in the status quo, probably led by Alabama Republican Spencer Bachus, the Republican leader in the committee, along with Arizona Republican Senator Jon Kyl.

"The PPA and our membership have done a good job elevating this issue with hundreds of thousands of phone calls and letters to Capitol Hill in 2009," Pappas said. "We think this deserves attention and we hope we can manage the debate at the hearing so those who ultimate oppose us will be neutralised with the facts."

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