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Published: Friday, March 14, 2008 Online-Casinos.com
PLENTY OF U.S. POLITICAL ACTION AHEAD
Las Vegas Review-Journal summarises attempts to bring online gambling into the light
The Las Vegas Review-Journal has published a useful article on US legislative moves aimed at easing the ban on internet gambling, starting with plans next month for a House of Representatives panel to review regulations proposed by the Department of Treasury to enforce UIGEA (see previous Online-Casinos.com/InfoPowa reports).
The hearing by the House Financial Services Committee could occur as early as April 2, the Journal reveals, commenting that the draft regulations published October 4 have been the subject of over 200 submissions from interested parties. Many of the comments question whether the regulations would be effective.
The Journal quotes Congressman Barney Frank, chairman of the committee, who said: "The hearing is going to show - I want to show - that it's not that the regulations weren't done well. It's that they can't be done well given the inherent nature of the issue."
About 23 million people gambled on the Internet in 2005 on 2 500 Web sites. About 8 million of those gamblers were from the United States. So far, a bill proposed by Frank to legalise online gambling has 46 co-sponsors - 42 Democrats and four Republicans.
The man who pushed the UIGEA through Congress in 2006, now-retired politician Bill Frist repeatedly declined to comment when approached by the LVRJ. Frist, a Republican from Tennessee, attached the notorious Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act to an unrelated port security bill as Congress rushed to finish business.
The chairman of the Poker Players Alliance, former Senator Alfonse D'Amato, said this week that he does not expect Congress to overturn the Internet gambling ban this year. "It's going to take a couple of years," said D'Amato, noting the increased difficulty of passing legislation in a presidential election year.
Although he declined to disclose names, D'Amato said he is talking to Republican senators in hopes of finding one who will lead efforts in the Senate to exempt poker from the online wagering ban. The legislation in the Senate would be similar to a bill proposed last year in the House by Representative Bob Wexler, a Florida Democrat. Wexler's bill has 21 co-sponsors - 17 Democrats and four Republicans.
A bill by Nevada Representative Shelley Berkley calling for a one-year study of Internet gambling by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences has 68 co-sponsors - 64 Democrats and four Republicans, including Representatives Jon Porter and Dean Heller, both Nevada Republicans.
And Representative James McDermott, a Democrat from Washington, has proposed legislation to tax Internet gambling for up to $43 billion over 10 years. McDermott's bill, which is intended to complement Frank's bill, has 21 co-sponsors - 17 Democrats and four Republicans.