Congressional Action Looming to Overturn UIGEA

by Lou on March 16, 2007

Nevada Congressional Delegation Seeks Study of Online Gaming
Nevada congress members Shelley Berkley (D-NV) pictured right, and Jon Porter, (R-NV) are working on legislation that would require the National Academy of Sciences to conduct an 18-month study of online wagering. A bill is expected within the next few weeks, and its supporters believe that the study will assure Congress that safeguards are in place to adequately regulate online gaming.
“The purpose of our bill is to provide a comprehensive study with detailed information on the expanded growth of Internet gambling,” Berkley said.
When complete, the study will also set the stage for legislation after the next presidential required to enter this market in the future.
Barney Frank (D-MA) Considering Legislation to Overturn UIGEA
Meanwhile, the office of Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) confirmed that he is considering legislation that would repeal the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
A news item about this appeared on the Financial Times website earlier this week and was confirmed by Frank’s press liaison in a conversation I had with her yesterday. Frank is on record as calling UIGEA one of the “stupidest laws” ever passed and has stated, “I am working on legislation to cut back on this internet gambling thing… I think it’s preposterous.”
Nevertheless, no specifics about how this might be accomplished were available from Frank’s office, and no timeframe was given — though his staff stated that “the Congressman is still thinking about it, and has not begun to develop any new legislation.”
Berkley was quoted as saying that she and Frank talked a few days ago and plan to meet again soon to discuss this issue.
While supporting legislation to overturn or modify UIGEA might not be sufficient to accomplish the task, just bringing it forward could signal the US Department of Justice to discontinue their witch hunt against the online gaming community.

Rumors Continue to Surface. Will Charges Be Dropped Against Neteller Two?
On a somewhat related note, rumor mills are rife with the possibility that charges will soon be dropped against John Lefebvre and Stephen Lawrence, the former Neteller directors charged with violating the 1961 Wire Act, which deals with the illegality of sports book operations.

A statement from the office of Michael J. Garcia, United States Attorney, Southern District of New York, says that the arrests were made for the “creation and operation of an internet payment services company that facilitated the transfer of billions of dollars of illegal gambling proceeds from US citizens to the owners of various internet gambling companies located overseas.”

None of this speaks to poker, although it’s clear that these arrests and Neteller’s subsequent pull back from the US market dealt a strong blow to the poker community too.

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