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Bill HR 5767 Brought to House Financial Services Committee

by Hillary LaClair, Senior Editor

Since the implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act there have been representatives throughout the U.S. arguing to have it discontinued. The UIGEA, in a nutshell, was put into play in order to keep offshore online casinos from tapping into the American gaming community. HR 5767 is a bill proposed by Barney Frank and Ron Paul on April 11th of this year that addresses the issue of the ban on internet gaming. The bill has been pushed into the mark-up stage, where it will be reviewed by the House Financial Services Committee to determine if there are any necessary amendments to add to it before it is considered by the House of Representatives.

As of yet, the new bill that Frank is pushing for, with the support of 20 other representatives, is in a very primitive form. It states, “The Secretary of the Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, whether acting jointly or separately, may not propose, prescribe, or implement any regulation under subchapter IV of chapter 53 of title 31, United States Code [UIGEA], or otherwise give effect to such subchapter or any such regulation, including the proposed regulations published in the Federal Register on October 4, 2007.” Essentially this is requesting the right of Congress to overturn the UIGEA. There has been much controversy surrounding the Act since its introduction. Much of this stems from feelings of unfairness surrounding the Act, in that it is discriminatory to other countries, it is not practical and difficult to enforce, and puts a responsibility on banking institutions that are not equipped to handle it. Frank has been able to provide several legitimate arguments that favor his bill. He feels that enabling internet casino gambling will result in an extreme economic boost. Barney Frank has instead created an alternative to this UIGEA, known as the Internet Gambling and Regulation Enforcement Act. Rather than outlawing internet gaming, Frank seeks to monitor and regulate these facilities in order to protect gaming users’ finances and provided a hefty revenue in the process.

There are two more representatives that intend to express their support for HR 5767 this week. Neil Abercrombie is a liberal Democrat representing the state of Hawaii, and had voted against the UIGEA when it was first brought to Congress for consideration. Abercrombie had also voted on the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act, known also as HR 2046.

Lynch, a democrat as well, is a member of the Finances Committee that the bill is being brought before. He voted for the UIGEA when it was introduced but has now expressed concern over the financial burden that the Act has put on the country. Lynch represents the state of Massachusetts.

While the outcome looks hopeful for the HR 5767 bill, there does not seem to be as much support for the gaming regulation act. It seems that the U.S. may be voting in favor of online casinos in order to avoid any further scrutiny for the discrimination of other countries via the UIGEA.