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House Committee Postpones Online Gambling Bill Hearings


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No sooner had supporters of a legalized and regulated online gambling
industry in the United States got their hopes up that two bills set to be
introduced to the House Committee on Financial Services this week could yield
some progress for the cause, then the hearings were postponed indefinitely.

Congressman Barney Frank, a staunch advocate of a regulated U.S. online
gambling industry
, and author of the bills – the Reasonable Prudence in
Regulation Act (H.R 2266) and Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection
and Enforcement Act of 2009 (H.R. 2267) – was scheduled to introduce them.

If news reports are to believed, the postponement was not as a result of
anything ‘sinister’ i.e. government intervention, but rather due to a ‘conflict’
in Frank’s busy schedule, who is also the chairman of the House Committee on
Financial Services. It seems he had ‘a previously scheduled event in
Massachusetts.’

What would Mulder and Scully make of this I wonder? Interestingly, as yet no
formal makeup date for the hearing has been announced which begs the question of
whether either of these two bills will see the light of day. H.R 2266 is
designed to delay the obligation of U.S. financial institutions to adhere to
UIGEA.

UIGEA (the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) was passed by Congress in
October 2006, legislation designed to make it illegal for U.S. banks, credit
card companies and other financial institutions to process online
gambling-related payments. UIGEA is expected to be enforced from June this year.

H.R. 2267 is designed to establish a legalized and regulated online gambling
platform in the U.S. Interestingly, another gambling-related bill is scheduled
for debate this week to approve licenses for casinos in Massachusetts.
Ironically, it contains language that would make online casinos and online poker
illegal.

For example: ‘Any person who knowingly transmits or receives a wager of any type
by any telecommunication device, including telephone, cellular phone, internet,
or local area network… or knowingly installs or maintains said device or
equipment for the transmission or receipt of wagering information shall be
punished.’

However, online gambling industry insiders believe that language will be removed
from the bill before it is officially passed.

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