The ambiguity and confusion set forth by the attempted enforcement of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 will be the topic of a Congressional hearing in Wednesday, April 2nd. The hearing, entitled “Proposed UIGEA Regulations: Burden Without Benefit?” will be conducted by the House Committee on Financial Service’s Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology.
For months, U.S. financial institutions have been expressing concerns about complying with the UIGEA, and several members of Congress have echoed those concerns as expressed to the Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve. For the first time, members of Congress will hold the first Congressional hearing on the matter.
Whether the hearing will serve to clarify the UIGEA is unclear. Congressmen Barney Frank (D-MA) and Peter King (R-NY) recently issued a joint letter to their colleagues calling on Congress to undo the UIGEA, so there is the possibility that Wednesday’s hearing is the first step in that direction. Considering that the UIGEA is currently unenforceable due to its vagueness, disassembling the law may be the best alternative for Congress.
Frank, the Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services, will be an integral part of the hearing and possibly raise the subject of his bill – HR 2046, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act – as an alternative to the UIGEA. In the debate over the UIGEA, Frank has been most vocal about its ambiguity and the viability of a regulatory alternative. Last month, he noted, “The banks have a lot of other things to worry about right now. I don’t think poker should be one of them.”
The hearing on April 2nd will begin at 10am in the Rayburn House Office Building, and it will be chaired by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL). The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has announced that they will offer a live webcast on their website at www.PokerPlayersAlliance.org.