Prospects for Overturning UIGEA Looking Grim

by Lou on February 2, 2010

Going into this year, I was optimistic that Rep. Barney Frank’s (pictured right) attempt to overturn the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) had a chance of being enacted. But now I’m not so sure. In fact, I’d bet against it.
When Scott Brown defeated state Atty. Gen. Martha Coakley in a special election to fill the late Ted Kennedy’s US Senate seat, it sent the Democrats into full retreat—in panic mode—ready to do anything to save their seats and leaving them unwilling to support online poker.
While November’s elections are a ways away, it’s pretty clear that the Democrats will lose some seats, and with Brown’s election dropping the Democrats down to 59 seats in the Senate—one fewer than the 60 they need to prevent a filibuster—their big concern now is protecting their majority, and along with it, their own seats.

Most Democrats probably don’t want to vote on Barney Frank’s Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act. It simply represents a controversy they don’t need, and a stance they can’t afford to take.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is concerned about the prospects of her party losing their majority. If they don’t retain control of the House, she loses her speakership. She’s against online gaming anyway, and will discourage Democrats from taking political positions that might endanger the majority—and her position along with it.

Even if Frank’s bill gets through his Financial Services Committee, I don’t think it will be brought to a vote. Although online poker and Frank’s proposed legislation crosses party lines and has supporters as well as detractors on both sides of the aisle, more Democrats than Republicans support it, and a Democratic retreat could doom it’s chances for passage in the foreseeable future.


Champ February 2, 2010 at 5:28 pm


This was a good write. Insightful, fresh, concise, and relevant. A unique perspective.

Not an attempt to piggy back a 2+2 thread, one-week past its relevance.

Keep up with the latter.

Kevin Mathers February 12, 2010 at 2:55 am

I think Champ meant the former, but anyways Jon Kyl or any other Senator has the right to hold any piece of legislation from being voted on for any reason they choose. They also are able to block nominations, which Kyl has done for several Treasury nominees until the UIGEA goes through.

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