PPA rep reiterates UIGEA flaws

Hands tied

Media reports came out last week that Senator Jon Kyl was pressing for faster implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act despite the hearing that outlined problems with the new law. However, the Poker Players Alliance isn't about to let him push aside concerns about the bill.

Ken Illgen, the Nevada director for the Poker Players Alliance, wrote a letter to the editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal stressing the flaws that were identified in the UIGEA during a House subcommittee hearing about it April 2.

"As the Nevada director for the Poker Players Alliance, a grass-roots poker advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide and 12,870 in Nevada, I was concerned to read that Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) wants to speed up enforcement of the vaguely and broadly written law banning Internet gambling - the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act ('Internet gambling ban architect frustrated with regulation delays,' Wednesday Review-Journal)," Illgen wrote.

Kyl was one of the UIGEA's chief supporters as it was coming up through the House and Senate, and he was instrumental in getting the bill added to the SAFE Port act in order to get it passed into law.

However, during the April 2 hearing on the new law, representatives from the banking industry, which will be tasked with enforcing the UIGEA, pointed out issues with the law that need to be settled before it can be implemented.

Representatives from the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve, both tasked with coming up with the regulations to implement the law, also expressed concerns over being able to come up with a way to put the law into force with the problems they're encountering.

"Frankly, the confusion regulators are dealing with as they develop the regulations to enforce the law is a direct result of how this act was written and sneaked into a must-pass port security bill in the dead of night, allowing no time for review and debate," Illgen wrote.

He also points out that the most glaring flaw in the bill is that it doesn't define "unlawful Internet gambling," which is something that should be stated in legislation that concerns illegal online gambling.

"This law is clearly unworkable, as regulators, bankers and several members of Nevada's congressional delegation have publicly stated," Illgen wrote.

"To truly place checks and balances on Internet gambling, Congress should look to existing legislation that would seek to regulate online gambling in order to protect children and problem gamblers and collect billions of dollars in lost tax revenue from these transactions."

Rather than blaming regulators for struggling to enact a flawed and ambiguous bill, as Kyl seems to be doing, Illgen suggests lawmakers "start looking for workable solutions to truly regulate this growing online industry."

That solution could be found in Rep. Barney Frank's Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act. Frank (D-Mass.) introduced the bill last year as a way to overturn the online gambling ban in the United States and set up a framework to license and regulate the industry instead.

Frank and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) also recently introduced legislation to stop the implementation of the UIGEA after hearing the concerns expressed at the April 2 subcommittee hearing.

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