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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Frank and Paul Introduce Legislation to Stop UIGEA

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On Thursday, April 10, Congressmen Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced legislation to Congress to disengage financial institutions from their responsibilities to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). H.R. 5767 would prohibit the Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve System from implementing any regulations set forth by the UIGEA.

H.R. 5767 reads as follows:

The Secretary of the Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, whether acting jointly or separately, may not propose, prescribe, or implement any regulation under subchapter IV of chapter 53 of title 31, United States Code, or otherwise give effect to such subchapter or any such regulation, including the proposed regulations published in the Federal Register on October 4, 2007.

Rep. Frank introduced the bill on behalf of himself and Rep. Paul on the heels of the April 2nd Congressional hearing entitled, “Proposed UIGEA Regulations: Burden Without Benefit?” One financial institution after another, including the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve System, expressed deep and widespread concerns over the ambiguity of the UIGEA and the extreme difficulties in enforcing it.

Frank was one of the keynote speakers at the hearing and has repeatedly expressed his disdain for the UIGEA on other occasions. He even went so far as to introduce legislation in 2007 – in the form of the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2046) that would regulate internet gambling, protect against underage participants, and ensure the integrity of financial transactions.

Frank said, “These regulations are impossible to implement without placing a significant burden on the payments system and financial institutions, and while I do disagree with the underlying objective of the Act, I believe that even those who agree with it ought to be concerned about the regulations’ impact.”

Paul has also been a friend of the poker industry and an outspoken opponent to the UIGEA. He commented, “The ban on internet gambling infringes upon two freedoms that are important to many Americans: the ability to do with their money as they see fit, and the freedom from government interference with the internet. The regulations and underlying bill also force financial institutions to act as law enforcement officers. This is another pernicious trend that has accelerated in the aftermath of the Patriot Act, the deputization of private businesses to perform intrusive enforcement and surveillance functions that the federal government is unwilling to perform on its own.”

Jeffrey Sandman, spokesman for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, praised the newly proposed legislation: “The Frank-Paul bill would stop the U.S. government from taking any further steps on regulations that would require all of the country’s financial institutions to block internet gambling payments. It’s a bold move, but a necessary one, in light of the warnings from the Treasury and Federal Reserve that they did not know how to write regulations to solve the problems created by the UIGEA.”

It is important that members of the poker community speak up at this critical time to show support for H.R. 5767, and let members of Congress know that Frank and Paul speak on behalf of millions in this country.

Visit the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative at www.SafeAndSecureIG.org or the Poker Players Alliance at www.PokerPlayersAlliance.org for more information. Both sites enable visitors to easily send a message to members of Congress.

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