The much anticipated online poker legislation from Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) was revealed on Wednesday and it turns out his bills will not be the only pieces of legislation for poker supporters to keep their eye on in the coming weeks.
Frank revealed the details of the two bills at a morning press conference and, while the bills have yet to be assigned formal numbers, they offer the promise of regulated and legalized internet gambling in the United States.
The first bill, called the Internet Gambling Regulation Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act, seeks to give responsibility and control to the US Department of Treasury for all matters related to licensing and regulating online gambling. The 48-page piece of legislation has measures in place to monitor those operating online gambling sites including employee background checks, reviews of their business structure and financial information and systems in place to prevent money laundering, underage gambling and problem gambling. The Treasury will also be in charge of fining operators and revoking licenses in addition to issuing licenses and enforcing operation standards.
Licenses will be issued by the Department of the Treasury and will need to be renewed every five years. Stipulations are also in place within the legislation to uphold the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which relates to sports wagers, but does not include fantasy sports leagues.
In addition to the Internet Gambling Regulation Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act, a second bill from Frank will seek to delay the regulations imposed by the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The UIGEA, which passed in 2006, originally set a compliance date for financial institutions of December 1st of this year. Frank’s Reasonable Prudence in Regulation Act, also introduced at Wednesday’s press conference, seeks to push that date back one year to December of 2010. The impetus behind the bill is to allow Congress ample time to consider the nation’s position on internet gambling, including whether or not to pass Frank’s newest piece of online gambling legislation.
In related news, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) also introduced an internet gambling related piece of legislation intended to work in tandem with Frank’s latest bills. The bill proposes collecting individual and corporate taxes on income won from internet gambling.
A press release from Poker Players’ Alliance (PPA) chair Alfonso D’Amato expressed his enthusiasm for the forthcoming bills. “Online poker is a legal, thriving industry and poker players deserve the consumer protections and the freedom to play that are provided for in this legislation”, said D’Amato. “We are grateful for Chairman Frank’s leadership and will be activating our grassroots army made up of over one million members to help him drive legislation.” Last month, the PPA stated they would be spending $3 million on lobbying efforts during the current session of Congress.

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