Frank 'optimistic' repeal of UIGEA will pass

6 July 2009

LAS VEGAS -- Barney Frank (D-MA) sharpened his rhetoric against UIGEA proponents and promised to move forward on bills that would suspend and ultimately repeal the UIGEA when he visited the Main Event at the World Series of Poker Sunday.

Before ushering in play with the traditional "Shuffle up and deal call," Frank called the UIGEA the "stupidest" bill ever and implored poker players to write their Congressmen and Senators and ask them to repeal it.

In a press availability following his Main Event appearance, Frank was more pointed with his criticism of the UIGEA, and offered a timetable on the his next moves to remove it from the law books.

Barney Frank

Rep. Barney Frank ushers in play at the World Series of Poker Main Event Sunday.(Photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

"This is another case of my Congressional colleagues, who are as you well know for the exemplary moral lives they all live instructing the rest country how to come up to the high ideals we meet so regularly," said Frank, referring to the recent sex scandals that have plagued the Republican party.

"By the way, it is odd that we say no gambling, because the country is in a terrible economic hole because of gambling," Frank added. "The difference is the law that passed by the Republicans stops individuals from gambling in the thousands with their own money. At the same time, they were allowing other institutions to gamble in the billions with other people's money."

Frank says that he and his committee should wrap up work on writing new financial regulation by September, and that he'll go to work on the online gambling legislation after that in the fall.

"I did not further push the bill (that passed in the House Financial Services committee) last year because it was clear President Bush would have vetoed it," Frank said.

Barney Frank

Rep. Barney Frank addresses the media at the World Series of Poker.(Photo by Vin Narayanan, Casino City)

"Now that we have a president that I know is not in hock to the right wing, I plan to move this bill. I am the chairman of the committee of jurisdiction. We have two bills, one to suspend the regulations and one to repeal the whole thing and set up new regulations," Frank said.

"So it is my intention this fall to bring up in the committee bills that I'm sponsoring. I think they're going to pass. I am really optimistic we're going to get this repealed."

Frank said he hasn't spoken to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the bill yet however.

"I would be surprised if she wasn't supportive (of the bills)," Frank said. "People know I've been doing and nobody it has told me not to. I plan to move ahead with it and have it ready in the fall to present it to them."

"It's a wedge issue for the Republican party," Frank added. "It puts the Republicans in a bind between hardened conservatives and another strong group of theirs. If you look at people who say keep the government out of my business, say don't interfere with my personal freedom, don't over regulate business and let's have freedom on the Internet, this bill is the worst example of a violation of all of those."

Vin Narayanan

Articles by Vin Narayanan is the former managing editor at Casino City and has been involved in the gaming industry for over a decade Vin is currently based in Hong Kong, where he runs his own consultant group and works as head of gaming and public relations for Mega Digital Entertainment Group.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for, USA WEEKEND and CNN.