Barney Frank to hold hearing on Thursday

2 December 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- On Thursday, December 3, the House Financial Services Committee will discuss legislation introduced by Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) that would regulate Internet gambling in the United States. The hearing, scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM EST in Room 2128 of the Rayburn House Office Building, will feature testimony from leaders in the fields of online security and consumer safety. Top experts are expected to describe how existing systems and technologies have proven successful in blocking minors from gambling online, combating compulsive gambling and protecting consumers against money laundering, fraud and identity theft.

"This hearing will provide further evidence on the ability to effectively regulate Internet gambling and require licensed operators to utilize already-proven technologies to protect consumers," said Michael Waxman, spokesperson of the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative. "It's expected this hearing will answer any outstanding questions and pave the way for a vote in the committee on Chairman Frank's legislation."

The hearing follows the recent announcement by the Federal Reserve and Department of the Treasury of an extension to the compliance date of the final Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) regulations by six months to June 1, 2010. The delay, Chairman Frank stated "…will give us a chance to act in an unhurried manner on my legislation to undo this regulatory excess by the Bush administration and to undo this ill-advised law." Chairman Frank's statement implies he will seek to have his regulatory bill enacted prior to June 1, 2010.

"Coupled with last week's decision by the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve to delay UIGEA implementation, this hearing further builds the case for Congress to rewrite U.S. gambling laws," added Waxman. "It's simply common sense to override UIGEA, a poorly conceived law that is doomed to fail, and replace it with a framework that regulates a thriving underground marketplace to protect consumers and collect billions in otherwise lost revenue."

The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2009 (H.R. 2267), introduced by Chairman Frank in May 2009, would establish a framework to permit licensed gambling operators to accept wagers from individuals in the U.S. In addition to consumer protections, the legislation reinforces the rights of each state to determine whether to allow Internet gambling activity for people accessing the Internet within the state and to apply other restrictions on the activity as determined necessary.

The Joint Committee on Taxation projects up to $42 billion over 10 years would be generated for the U.S. Treasury in a regulated environment and with the passage of Chairman Frank's bill along with a companion bill introduced by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act (H.R. 2268). The primary source of this revenue would come from ensuring that applicable individual and corporate taxes and license fees on regulated Internet gambling activities are collected.

For additional information on the hearing, please visit the House Committee on Financial Services Web site.