UIGEA Hearing Held

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Rep. Barney Frank and the House Financial Services Committee met to discuss the future online gambling in the U.S. yesterday, but the meeting concluded without a vote.

Over the 90-minute hearing, Frank delivered his case for legalizing and regulating the poker industry while Republican Rep. Spencer Bachus opposed the idea of changing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) that was passed in 2006.

Frank once again championed the two bills he introduced earlier this year, which would legalize and regulate the online gambling industry and delay the compliance date for UIGEA by one year.

The meeting was mostly informational and a number of witnesses took the floor including representatives from the Problem Gambling Council, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the Wired Safety Group, the Independent Community Bankers of America and Youbet.com.

The majority of the witnesses appeared to support Frank's proposed legislation and the idea of legalizing and regulating the online gaming world.

Speaking in opposition, Bachus revealed a letter from the FBI, claiming it suggested there were several ways to cheat at online poker and legalizing it would be opening up a pandora's box of corruption.

After the meeting concluded, the Poker Player’s Alliance said Bachus' argument sounded more like one to legalize and regulate online gaming than anything else.

“Every concern the letter raises is better addressed by licensing and regulation than by prohibition,” said John Pappas, executive director of the PPA. “The letter misconstrues much about the current state of online poker, but it does so in a way that clearly makes the case for why federal oversight is necessary.”

Although the hearing was adjourned without a vote, it does appear there will be more discussion on the topic as Committee Chariman Frank finished saying, “We will be returning to the subject next year.”

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