Further hearing for Barney's Bill (update)

Poker pros and politicians to appear before House Financial Services Committee

Today’s (Wednesday) House Financial Services Committee hearing on Congressman Barney Frank’s HR2267 bid to legalise online gambling in the US (see previous InfoPowa reports) will feature poker professionals and politicians on its witness list.

It has already been announced that the hearing is not intended at this stage to mark-up the bill, but to hear further evidence on the topic, which is described on the Committee’s website as: “At its most basic level, the issue before this committee is personal freedom – the right of individual Americans to do what they want in the privacy of their homes without the intrusion of the government.”

The committee has published a list of witnesses that includes respected professional poker player and high profile television personality Annie Duke, who will speak for the Poker Players Alliance, claiming: “To be clear, HR 2267 is not a bill that expands Internet gambling in America. It simply provides the appropriate government safeguards to an industry that currently exists and continues to grow.”

Speaking for the Credit Union National Association will be Edward Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Discovery Federal Credit Union, whilst Tom Malkasian, Vice Chairman and Director of Strategic Planning for the Commerce Casino, will speak for his employers. The Commerce Casino is involved with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians in seeking the intrastate legalisation of online poker in California (see previous InfoPowa reports).

The Mohegan Tribe’s Lynn Malerba and law enforcement and anti-terrorism consultant Michael Fagan will also be appearing before the 71 member Committee, but noticeable by their absence are representatives for the United States Treasury and for the Federal Reserve. This is likely to evoke criticism, as at the last hearing on the bill in December, Republican opponents of the proposal called for officials from these government departments to be present at a follow-up hearing.

HR2267 has so far attracted 69 co-sponsors, but timelines for a vote are shrinking as Congress is scheduled to adjourn for the year on October 8th, with a recess planned between August 9th and September 10th. Politicians will also be distracted by the mid-term elections, which take place in November.

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