Frank to introduce online gambling bill Thursday

Congressman Barney Frank

Rep. Barney Frank plans to make good on his promise Thursday when he introduces legislation that will end the ban on online gambling in the United States, according to a Reuters report.

Rumors began circulation in early March about a possible bill that would lift the restrictions to online gambling that were put in place when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed last year.

Frank confirmed the rumors in a London Financial Times interview, saying the UIGEA was one of the "stupidest laws" ever passed and he plans to get it repealed.

Since then the public has been fed small details about the bill with indications it would be introduced in April. That day will finally arrive Thursday if Frank's plan holds true.

However, introducing the bill is no guarantee that it will be passed. But there are ways opponents of the online gambling ban can show their support and make their opinions known.

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), an organization working for poker players' rights, offers several examples of action people can take:

  • Contact your Congressman
  • Submit a "Letter to the Editor" to your local newspaper
  • Pass on the information to friends and family

Your Congressmen, both your Senators and Representatives, won't know your stance on an online gambling ban unless you make it known. Write them a letter or e-mail, or give their office a call to tell them what you think.

If you don't know who your representatives are or how to contact them, the PPA has an online directory you can use to find the information.

According to the PPA Web site, some of the points the organization recommends addressing with your Congressman or while spreading the word in other ways include:

  • Poker's strong history in the U.S.
  • Poker is a game of skill as well as luck
  • Poker can be a source of charity
  • Research has shown the industry would produce billions in tax dollars

Another way people can show their support for online poker and online gambling is by signing the petitions circulating online that show opposition to the UIGEA.

Jim Perkins, an attorney in California, initiated one such petition soon after the UIGEA was passed as part of the SAFE Port Act in October 2006. By the end of October, the petition had more than 11,000 signatures.

That number has since grown to more than 14,000, and Perkins will eventually submit the petition to members of the Senate and House to show support for lifting the online gambling ban.

"I have not yet sent it to Congress, but may do so in conjunction with the offering of the new bill by Representative Frank," Perkins said.

Anyone interested in signing the petition who hasn't done so already, can sign it now at

"I am hopeful that at least an exception for poker will pass this year," Perkins said. "I think that in general, the democratic party controlled Congress feels it has a mandate from the American people, and that they may well take on the UIGEA."

However, Perkins said he wouldn't expect politicians to expend much to get behind it, but similarly, the resistance probably wouldn't be that organized and passionate either.

"Much will probably depend on the skill and efforts of PPA's new lobbyist, Alfonse D'Amato," he said.

Related Articles:

Petition Against Gambling Ban Gaining Signatures
Bill to Get UIGEA 'Undone' Coming Soon
Rumors About April UIGEA Appeal
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