by Hillary LaClair, Senior Editor
The online casino industry suffered a devastating hard blow this Wednesday as the delayed vote in HR 5767, the Payments System Protection Act did not pass to Congress. The Bill was put in motion by Barney Frank and Ron Paul in an attempt to cease UIGEA related arrests.
The debate went on for some time, with valid arguments presented on behalf of the bill. Representatives of the Poker Players Alliance attended the meeting, as well as Congressmen. PPA’s Chairman and former U.S. Senator, Alfonse D’Amato showed concern that the UIGEA has not to date been able to provide gamers with what technically is considered unlawful internet gaming. D’Amato has expressed his disappointment in the opponents’ inability to see the true intent of this bill. He also stated that the UIGEA would not effectively be able to address its supporters concerns with online gambling, and that the actions it seeks to prohibit will continue regardless. It seemed that the “moral” issues that republican Congressmen have with internet gambling outweighed the arguments that the bill’s supporters were making.
The opposing side went on to explain their viewpoints on the issue, singing the same “protect the children” song. The argument made by Spencer Bachus of Alabama, was that underage gamblers were at risk of becoming addicts, and that one third of college students who use online casinos and poker rooms have attempted suicide. Yet he failed to address the fact that the UIGEA should be subject to more specification. These supporters don’t realize that gambling addictions, according to the psychiatric field, are classified as an impulse control disorder and could be easily detected in other vices. It is typical of the Republican Party to make a martyr out of the children in order to obtain support. Bachus’s slogan is “You just click your mouse and you lose your house,” which is permitted in the U.S. providing that house is lost in horse-betting transactions.
The bill’s representatives tried to argue that enforcement of internet gambling laws should be left to government rather than banking facilities and in that sense was not a gambling issue. Pete King, a republican of New York argued, “This is a banking amendment, not a gambling amendment. I hope this will be considered in a non-partisan way; not whether you are opposed to gambling or not. Let’s take our time and have regulations that mean something.” He was unfortunately unable to sway the republican vote with this logic.
It was hoped by those supporting the bill that the House Financial Services Committee would be able to establish a guideline of which types of internet gambling would be legalized. Should it have passed through the committee, it would have ceased further UIGEA implementation and forced the Treasury Department , the Justice Department and the Federal Reserve to give a thorough description of unlawful internet gambling. The vote, however, tied at 32-32 and regulation was denied. Because of this, banking institutions are still left with responsibilities they are unequipped to enforce without certainty of which financial transactions are considered illegal.