Anti-UIGEA Bill To Be Introduced In U.S. SenateBy: Joan Peppin, Friday July 24th 2009
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A Barney Frank type anti-UIGEA bill is expected to be introduced in the United States Senate shortly. This information was revealed by John Pappas, the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance during the National Poker Week being currently held in Washington DC.
The bill is being prepared by Democrat Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey. This bill will essentially mirror the objectives of HR 2267, which was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Barney Frank in May 2009. The bill will seek to legalize online gambling in the United States and to bring online casinos under a regulatory authority. Such a joint initiative in the Senate and the House of Representatives is expected to increase the pace of the legislation. If both the bills get passed in their respective legislative forums then the task becomes simpler. All that is needed is to reconcile the two bills, which is a fairly straightforward task. Because of this initiative by Senator Menendez it may be possible to have the legislation in place by the end of the year.
The Poker Players Alliance has prepared a rating of all senators and congressmen based on their inclination to support online gambling. Senator Menendez has received the highest rating of A+. This implies that he is actively pursuing the legalization of online gambling. This rating was given to Senator Menendez following his efforts last year. In September 2008 Senator Menendez introduced the Internet Skill Game Licensing and Control Act, as S 3616. This bill sought to take skill based online casino games, including online poker, out of the purview of the UIGEA and provide a licensing mechanism for them. Unfortunately time was short and 2008 was an election year therefore the bill did not see much progress. Instead of reintroducing the bill in this session of Congress, Senator Menendez has decided that he will introduce a bill much wider in scope and one that parallels HR 2267 so that proceedings in the House of Representatives and the Senate can occur simultaneously.
The time is ripe for such a bill to be introduced. There is considerable outrage against the prohibition of online gambling in the United States, both within the country and offshore. The recent action by the Department of Justice in freezing online gambling funds has been heavily criticized. Also many of the states are looking at legalizing some means of online gambling so that they can generate much needed tax revenues from it in these dire economic times. Outside the United States, the European Union and Antigua and Barbuda are actively seeking a negotiated settlement with the United States that will allow them to access the American online gambling market. If this does not happen then they may take the option of legal action through the World Trade Organization. In many online forums the question being asked is will the Obama administration deliver on its promise of change.
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