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  1. #1
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    Default House hearing on UIGEA set for Wednesday

    The House Financial Services Committee (chair is Barney Frank - D-MA) will hold a hearing on the UIGEA on Wednesday, April 2 at 10 a.m.

    Witness list not yet disclosed, but the details are right here.

    http://www.house.gov/apps/list/heari...hr040208.shtml

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    Rock on Sir Frank!
    --
    "People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity." ~Andrew Carnegie~

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    FYI -- We'll be live blogging this hearing in the GPWA forums. I'll post a link in here to appropriate thread Wednesday morning.

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    Here's the witness list for today's hearing ...

    Witness List & Prepared Testimony:
    Panel 1
    • Ms. Louise L. Roseman, Director, Division of Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
    • Ms. Valerie Abend, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Compliance Policy, U.S. Department of the Treasury
    Panel 2
    • Ms. Harriet May, President and Chief Executive Officer, GECU of El Paso, Texas on behalf of the Credit Union National Association
    • Mr. Wayne A. Abernathy, Executive Vice President, Financial Institutions Policy and Regulatory Affairs, American Bankers Association
    • Mr. Leigh Williams, BITS President, The Financial Services Roundtable
    • Mr. Ted Teruo Kitada, Senior Company Counsel, Legal Group, Wells Fargo & Co.

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    From a NY Times blog entry about the upcoming hearing ...

    Ultimately the subcommittee does not have the power to tell the Treasury Department to change its rules – short of passing new legislation. But the hearing does serve to keep alive the debate about whether a ban on online gambling is enforceable, a debate that the offshore casinos are more than happy to stoke.

    One organization representing offshore gambling companies said today that the banks shouldn’t be wasting their time regulating gambling because they have bigger issues to deal with.

    “Rather than these companies spending their efforts on this, it would make sense to be more focused on more important issues, such as responding to what’s happening to the economy,” said Michael Waxman, who does public relations for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, a lobbying group backed by offshore casinos.
    http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/0...mbling-ban/?hp

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    Here's the link to our live-blog of this morning's events.

    https://www.gpwa.org/forum/live-blog...ns-175062.html

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    Here's a link to a Reuters story about the hearing ...

    http://www.reuters.com/article/techn...28440120080402

    A few highlights below ...

    Federal Reserve and Treasury officials said on Wednesday they were struggling to craft rules to ban bank and credit card payments to illegal Internet gambling sites because federal law is unclear about what type of gambling is illegal online.

    "That is something we're really struggling with," Louise Roseman, the Fed's director of reserve bank operations and payment systems, told a House Financial Services subcommittee.

    "The challenge we have is interpreting ... federal laws that Congress itself isn't sure what they mean," Roseman said.
    Roseman told the subcommittee that Fed and Treasury staffs were pressing ahead with a final rule that provides "reasonably practical examples" of actions by banks and payment companies to comply with the existing law.

    "Our objective is to craft a rule to implement the act as effectively as possible in a manner that does not have a substantial adverse effect on the efficiency of the nation's payment system," Roseman said.

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    And more on the hearing from the AP ...

    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5g...ZgCgAD8VPSPGG1

    The congressional ban sought to explicitly outlaw Internet gambling but didn't offer a clear definition everyone could agree on. It put the burden on financial institutions by prohibiting gamblers from using credit cards, checks and electronic fund transfers to settle their online wagers.

    That's led to complaints from the financial services industry about the difficulty of determining where payments are going, especially because online betting businesses can disguise themselves with relative ease.

    It "makes financial institutions the police, prosecutors, and judges in place of real law enforcement officers," Wayne Abernathy of the American Bankers Association told a House Financial Services subcommittee Wednesday.

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    Good editorial from the Las Vegas Review Journal ...

    http://www.lvrj.com/opinion/17255534.html

    Here's the conclusion ...

    In the movie "Office Space," frustrated corporate drones fantasize about taking a baseball bat to the office computer equipment that never seems to operate properly. That's precisely what Congress should do to the Internet gambling ban.
    Any time you can cite the movie "Office Space" in your editorial, you win. Saying that Congress should do the same thing to the UIGEA that Michael Bolton and Samir "Not-Gonna-Work-Here-Anymore" did to the printer? Classic.

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