Delay In Discussion On Frank's Bill LikelyBy: Shirley Spicer, Tuesday August 25th 2009
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Richard Bryan seemed to give voice to the general apprehension that debate on Barney Frank's anti UIGEA bill will not take place any time soon. Bryan is a former United States Senator from Nevada. He now is a professional gaming attorney and is therefore aware of both the online gambling scenario in the country and the way Washington functions.
In an interview given to the Las Vegas Review Journal Bryan opined that the debate on Frank's bill probably would take place only next year. He gave two reasons for this conclusion. The first reason was that there were other more important issues like national health care and the economic meltdown before the legislature. The second reason was that the Congress moves at "glacial pace" and therefore will not take up the less important issues in a hurry.
There is no doubt that the economic downturn has spoilt the party for online gaming enthusiasts. The introduction of Frank's bill was itself delayed. The new administration took over in January 2009 and at that time Frank had indicated that his bill to overturn the UIGEA would be introduced in March 2009. The date was pushed to Easter and the bill was finally introduced to May. The bill was supposed to come up for discussion around Independence Day, but Frank said more important matters had to be discussed first and that the bill would positively be discussed in September 2009. August is almost over and there is as yet no confirmation that the bill would come up for discussion next month. It must be noted that Barney Frank is the Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services that has to discuss the bill.
The online gaming industry is perhaps aware only of the work that Frank has put in for opposing the UIGEA in the legislature. However Frank's body of work is much larger than that. After the new administration has taken charge Frank has sponsored 32 bills most of which concern the financial sector, but also include online gambling, gay rights and education. He has also co-sponsored 256 bills. This would give a fair idea of what his online gambling bill is up against.
The online gambling industry has been knocked out by the executive and the judiciary. The Obama administration was expected to be soft in implementing the existing laws against online gambling. But the Department of Justice is acting with greater fervor than before. For the first time payments to online gambling customers were seized by the government. iMEGA was expected to easily win its case in the US Court of Appeals. Though the judgment is not yet out, the proceedings of the appeal indicate that the verdict will be against iMEGA. Therefore the online gambling industry has all its hope pinned on the legislature.
Bryan said, "My sense, however, is that there is a gathering, gradual momentum where, eventually, Internet gaming will occur and be regulated. I'm just not sure if it has reached critical mass yet."
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