Bill to get UIGEA 'undone' coming soon

U.S. Rep. Barney Frank has announced he will introduce a bill within two weeks to end the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

"I thought the online gambling bill we adopted was ... one of the stupidest things I ever saw and I want to get it undone," Frank told the Associated Press in Brussels today, where he's been on an overseas visit. "I plan to file legislation."

There are a couple of caveats however.

For one, Frank - a Massachusetts Democrat and chair of the House Financial Services Committee - said the bill will be introduced or registered within a couple of weeks to test the level of support, but it will likely need time to gather support.

For another, his interest lies mainly in the repeal of the credit card ban rather than a specific exemption to the UIGEA for poker.

"I am not going to draw a distinction between poker and blackjack," Frank said. "My committee only has jurisdiction over credit cards. I can't do more than repeal the ban on the use of credit cards."

He also said no major progress was likely in the near future, and a repeal of the UIGEA, which forbids banks and credit card firms from transferring money to offshore gaming companies from the United States, may take awhile.

"I think a reconsideration among my colleagues is beginning," Frank said, "but it's not far enough along yet.

"If the storm of public unhappiness is great enough then I will try to substantially revise that ban. The first thing is to plant the banner out there and see how many people rally around it."

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