Congressman drafts UIGEA poker exemption bill

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Former presidents weigh in on the UIGEA.

Florida congressman Robert Wexler is the latest politician to join the online gambling legal fray in the U.S. by introducing a bill to exempt poker and other games of skill from the country's ban on Internet wagering.

The legislation comes the day before the House Financial Services Committee reviews Rep. Barney Frank's bill calling for the licensing and regulation of online gambling in the U.S.

Wexler's bill, however, takes a tighter approach to legalizing online gambling, stating that only games of skill - specifically poker, bridge, chess and mahjong - should be exempted from October's ban.

"It allows Americans to play poker online as they should have every right to do," a spokesman for Wexler told Reuters today.

Skill games should be treated differently than games of chance, he added, as players win and lose based on their abilities.

Willing to testify to that end at tomorrow's hearing are the heads of online payment processing companies. It will likely be a tough sell as Frank's legislation doesn't have enough support in Congress to rescind the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

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