Congressman Barney Frank’s bill, HR 2267, entitled the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, seeks to repeal the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act, (UIGEA) and legalize and regulate Internet gambling in the United States.
The Massachusetts Democrat’s bill was heard in the House Financial Services Committee, which Frank chairs, but has been in limbo ever since. Frank has continued to claim that he wants to go forward with this bill, but the committee has more pressing business, given the state of the economy. He finally scheduled a hearing for HR 2267 on Wednesday July 21.
The hearing, however, is only a half day and no mark up has been scheduled for July 21. As a result, another hearing will be required for the committee to vote on Frank’s bill prior to it going to the House of Representatives for debate.
John Pappas, Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), said, “We appreciate Chairman Frank calling another hearing on HR 2267. We hope this is the final step toward an eventual vote in his Committee on this legislation before the August recess. The PPA and the poker community stand ready to secure its passage.”
Joe Brennan, who chairs the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association (iMEGA) had comments that were a little more pointed than PPA’s, saying, “Hearings are nice; they keep the ball in the air. What’s needed are votes: committee votes, floor votes. The i-gaming lobby has been working too hard for too long. It deserves more than a hearing.”
I share Brennan’s opinion. While a hearing is nice, I’m not expecting any real action as a result of it. In fact, without a vote, this hearing is nothing more than batting practice.