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  1. #1
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    Default Another chance for UIGEA rules clarification?

    When the last committee vote went down in a 32-32 tie, most said it was the end of the line for a hope for a scaleback in UIGEA prohibitionary pressure from the US government until the next Congress began, in January of 2009.

    However, according to an e-mail sent by the Poker Players Alliance to the Buzz, it appears that there will be another committee meeting to try to clarify the UIGEA.

    Your hard grassroots work has paid off! Thanks to you, we have one more chance to protect your rights before the Congress recesses for the year.

    Unless Congress takes action to clarify the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) it may soon be impossible for you to access your own resources to play the great game of poker at the time and place of your choice.

    Congress recently considered legislation to clarify UIGEA but the bill was deadlocked in committee on a tie vote of 32-32. Now, because of your grassroots efforts, that committee will have a hearing to consider another bill to clarify UIGEA.

    This hearing is scheduled for Tuesday September 16, so it’s critical for you to call your Representative one more time before Tuesday and ask them to support your rights.
    We'll be following this one closely ... if it does go back to a committee vote, it will be interesting to see if anyone flip-flops on their original vote. One can only assume that Barney Frank, the Chairman of the Committee, wouldn't have brought this up again if he didn't think he could pass it.

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    Here's a press release on this from the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative ... http://www.marketwatch.com/news/stor...A%7D&dist=hppr

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    Default Hearing set for Tuesday, 9/16, 1 p.m.

    It's official ... H.R.6807, the Payments Protection Act, will be set for markup on Tuesday, September 16 at 1 p.m.

    Here's a link to the House page with the announcement.

    http://www.house.gov/apps/list/speec...916081pm.shtml

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    The House Financial Services Committee just passed the Frank bill. The bill, as outlined in the hearing (there was an amendment that we're still waiting for the text on) will do the following:

    1. Will allow Fed and the Treasury Department to immediately draw up regulation that prevent the processing of Internet sports betting transactions.

    2. Will prevent the drafting or implementing of any regulations beyond the scope of sports betting until the Treasury Department creates a list of what is legal and illegal gambling AND a study that measures the economic cost of the regulations on the financial industry (payments system) is completed.

    The next step is for the full House of Representatives to vote on the bill. That vote has not been scheduled yet.

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    Here's our story on the hearing:

    House committee votes to clarify UIGEA

    16 Sep 2008
    By Vin Narayanan

    The movement to regulate online gaming in the U.S. scored its first legislative victory since the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) when The House Financial Services Committee passed Payment Systems Protection Act (PSPA) by a 30-19 vote Tuesday. A similar measure failed to make it out of committee two months ago after a 32-32 vote.

    The new bill, sponsored by Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Rep Peter King (R-NY), calls on the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department to draft and implement regulations that prevent sports betting transactions from being processed within 60 days of the bill becoming law. But it halts the development of any regulations beyond sports betting until a session that involves an administrative law judge determines exactly what is legal and illegal Internet gambling. The bill also requires the Treasury Department to create and maintain a list of unlawful Internet gambling businesses, and mandates that no transactions can be blocked if a company is not on the list.

    "Under this bill, at least the banks will know what is and isn't illegal," Frank said at the markup hearing. "We're asking the Treasury Department to give them a list."

    Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) led the opposition to the bill, and managed to force a recorded vote after the measure had easily passed by voice vote.

    "I'm disappointed that we're marking up another bill designed to impede the enforcement of the UIGEA," Bachus said. "This legislation (UIGEA) is necessary because Internet gambling regulations can not work like casino regulations." Bachus also told the committee that the professional sports leagues continued to oppose the delay in implementing UIGEA regulations, and that struck a nerve with some of the legislators at the hearing.

    "I'm puzzled by pro sports opposition to this," said Rep. William Clay (D-MO). "I'm trying to find out the difference between betting at Caesars or the Tropicana in Vegas and betting on the Internet."

    Clay also took exception to the professional sports leagues opposing the PSPA even though the bill allows for immediate implementation of regulation that eliminate sports betting transactions.

    "If that doesn't satisfy major league sports, nothing else will," Clay said.

    Frank was also disappointed by the stance of America's professional sports leagues.

    "I don't see why the sports leagues get to tell people what to do," Frank said.

    "How people spend their leisure time should be neither made illegal or encouraged."

    The passage of the bill by the House Financial Services Committee drew immediate praise from the Poker Players Alliance (PPA).

    “The PPA is pleased that the House Financial Services Committee today recognized the need to provide necessary clarification to what constitutes ‘unlawful Internet gambling’ under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) by passing H.R. 6870," said PPA chairman and former Senator Alfonse D'Amato.

    “Even those who oppose internet gambling should applaud the passage of this legislation as it provides the most realistic opportunity to block truly unlawful internet gambling transactions."
    Last edited by vinism; 17 September 2008 at 2:27 pm. Reason: Added new information

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    More on this from the Las Vegas Review-Journal ...

    The House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday voted 30-19 to require federal agencies to define unlawful Internet gambling before completing regulations to enforce a ban against it.

    The question now is whether the margin of Tuesday's vote will persuade House leaders to schedule a vote on the House floor before Congress adjourns in the next few weeks.

    Even if the bill does not pass this year, it is expected to provide momentum to efforts to roll back the Internet gambling ban next year in a new session of Congress.

    Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the committee chairman and an aggressive foe of the 2006 ban on Internet gambling, said he plans to continue efforts to repeal it.

    "I still want to change the law. This isn't everything I want," Frank said.

    ...

    Among other things, the bill that passed committee on Tuesday would prohibit sports betting on the Internet by exempting such wagers from the regulation process.

    Frank joined Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., in expressing dismay that the bill still wasn't good enough for the National Football League and other professional sports leagues that opposed it.

    "I'm trying to figure out what the difference is between Internet gambling and legal sports books run by all the major casinos in Las Vegas like Caesars, like Tropicana, like all of the others," Clay said.

    "I think it's kind of disingenuous on the part of major league sports in this country, and sometimes we should be willing to admit when we, as lawmakers, make a mistake and pass a law that is really unimportant," Clay said, referring to the Internet gambling ban.
    Full story here ... http://www.lvrj.com/news/28497289.html

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    Default Sorting through the vote

    Here's the analysis piece we just posted...

    Analysis: Sports leagues the key to UIGEA puzzle

    17 September 2008
    By Vin Narayanan

    News Analysis
    The fact that H.R. 6870 passed is definitely good news. But how it passed, and what it means for the future of the industry is more intriguing. Let's start with how it passed.

    One of the most interesting revelations that emerged over the past couple of years is how the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) bus has been driven by the major sports leagues in the U.S. Yes, the conservative wing of the Republican Party has been trying for years to get online gambling banned. But its efforts never gained any significant traction until the professional sports leagues in America threw their weight behind the effort.

    Prior to July, the significance of the influence of the professional sports leagues was known, but rarely discussed. That changed when the pro leagues leaned hard on House Financial Services Committee members in late June to vote down an earlier version of the bill that passed yesterday. After that vote, legislators and lobbyists alike openly blamed sports leagues, including the NFL.

    In fact, the version of Frank's bill clearly reveals the intervention of the sports leagues. Frank's testimony indicates that he worked with the league in crafting this bill that would allow the Treasury and Fed to begin drafting and implementing regulations that would immediately block sports betting transactions while delaying the implementation of all other UIGEA regulations until a determination of what was illegal was made. Frank told the committee that he did this to get a bill that would pass, but he's not happy that the sports leagues are basically telling the American people how to spend their leisure time and money.

    Rep. William Clay also voiced his frustration with the pro leagues as well, who opposed the bill despite getting the language they wanted. "If that (blocking internet transactions) doesn't satisfy major league sports, nothing else will," Clay said.

    The other interesting development Tuesday was the actual vote. Frank's first bill failed to leave committee on a 32-32 vote. Tuesday's vote was 30-19.

    That indicates that 13 votes against disappeared, as did two votes for. So what happened?

    Here are the changes in the two votes:

    (Rep., First vote, Second vote)

    DEMOCRATS

    Waters, No, Yes
    Hinojosa, Yes, Absent
    Clay, Yes, Absent
    Miller, No, Absent
    Hodes, Yes, Absent
    Donnelly, Yes, Absent
    Carson, Yes, Absent
    Childers, Yes, Absent

    REPUBLICANS

    Pryce, No, Yes
    Paul, Yes, Absent
    Manzullo, No, Absent
    Biggert No, Yes
    Shays No, Yes
    Miller No, Absent
    Feeney, No, Absent
    Gerlach No, Yes
    Neugebauer, No, Absent
    Price, No, Absent
    McHenry, No, Absent
    Putnam, Absent, No
    Marchant, No, Absent
    McCarthy, No, Yes

    The first thing worth noting here is that Frank's bill did indeed pick up support in the last two months. One Democrat and five Republicans changed their votes from "No" to "Yes."

    The second thing to look at is the number of people who did not vote on the bill. In June, six committee members did not vote. Yesterday, 21 members did not vote. Part of that was a result of Hurricane Ike. Many of the members who represent districts affected by the storm were dealing with other issues. And there were some scheduling conflicts as well. Clay, for example, was part of the voice vote that passed the bill Tuesday morning. But he was unable to make the recorded vote that Rep. Spencer Bachus asked for.

    And more than likely, there was also a set of voters that thought the bill was good policy, but not good politics. Those members were able to show their support by simply not being there.

    All of these are considerations that a committee chairman takes into account when scheduling a vote. And given the brevity of the debate yesterday, and Bachus' own admission during the hearing that he was going to lose the vote, the outcome of Tuesday's vote was never in doubt.

    Where this bill goes from here is uncertain. The bill is now in the hands of the Rules Committee. That committee will determine when the bill will be submitted to the full House for debate and how long the debate will last. Generally speaking, the Rules Committee won't report a bill out unless they want to -- and the votes are there for passage.

    Since the House is scheduled to adjourn on Sept. 26 to allow members campaigning time for reelection, and because there are generally very few legislative days after an election, there is a good chance that this bill will not be voted on this year. If the bill is not acted upon by the end of this year, it will die and have to be reintroduced in the next session of Congress.

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