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Anti-Online Poker Law to be Enforce on June 1st, 2010

UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) regulations will not receive another postponement from the Treasury Department according to Rep. Barney Frank. The anti-poker law will go into effect on June 1st, 2010.

Rep. Frank said that it appears that the power play made by Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) in blocking the Treasury nominees of President Obama from assuming office worked, forcing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner from enforcing the law.

Rep. Frank said that Geithner promised that he would not delay the UIGEA again because Sen. Kyl was blocking up all the nominees. Kyl removed his block in early February 2010, after getting what he wanted from Secretary Geithner. Rep. Frank is not worried about the latest development. He firmly believes that in the long run, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act regulations going into effect will help dismiss the flawed law rather than just delay its implementation.

Rep. Frank said that the law was so oppressive that he believes that it will create enough support to dismiss the bill. He added that he firmly believes that once the UIGEA is enforce, financial organizations like banks are going to raise fuss and all the bankers will complain to the Senate. The UIGEA will block financial institutions in the US, including credit card companies and banks, from sending money to online poker sites.

The highly controversial law, which would place the burden on the banks what constitutes unlawful online gaming and identify the online sites that are in that category, has long been delay since it was approved by the Congress in October 2006. The compliance date for the regulations of the UIGEA was scheduled on December 1st, 2009.

The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) petitioned for a delay of the UIGEA, supported by Rep. Frank and more than twenty of his fellow Congressmen and Geithner granted a six-month reproeve to permit Congress the additional time to review legislation that would make the law irrelevant.

Rep. Frank held a hearing on his Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act in the House Financial Services Committee a weel later, but no further progress has been accomplished as Rep. Frank, the leader of the committee, shifted his attention on more important economic matters.

Frank said that he is still planning to have a mark-up of the bill, which would override the oppressive law in the committee, sometime in May. Poker Players Alliance leaders had hoped that progress on the bill by getting it approved in the committee would convince Geithner that another postponement was justified, but it appears that Sen. Kyl-the long-time enemy of online poker who supported the approval of the UIGEA-used his political influence to win this round.

PPA executive director John Pappas said that the Treasury, Congress, the Federal Reserve and the banking community agree that the UIGEA regulations lack a clear definition of what constitutes "unlawful online gambling".

This was situation whe the UIGEA were delayed in November 2009 and it remains the case today. Enforcing the law on June 1st, 2010 without any clarification would be a big mistake and will add another confusing layer to an already complicated matter.


Brian Nelson

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