has a long way to go, but at least it took its first step by being approved by the House Financial Services Committee. Next up is the House of Representatives.
Barney Frank’s efforts may be starting to pay off, as his latest version of (the Payments System Protection Act) was passed by the committee with a 30-19 vote that stuck mainly to party lines.
The bill was due to be reviewed yesterday, and Frank opened discussion on it by highlighting the differences between this bill and its predecessor and the need for a clear list of which activities are illegal under UIGEA. This is an excerpt from Frank’s speech:
We made some changes to [HR 5767] to try to get a majority of the votes as well as a broader agreement. First, it had always been our intention to allow pro sports leagues to opt out. They asked to be opted out of the bill and we’ve done that. The bill will protect sports from being included. It also asks that a list be prepared by the Treasury of what is and isn’t acceptable. You have a right to know what the law is and this would give people the right to know what is and isn’t covered under the UIGEA.
Republican Congressman Spencer Bachus, who is a known opposer of online gaming – even resorting to quoting on occasion as part of his attack of HR 5767 – took again an opportunity to stand against Frank’s bill and defend the integrity of the UIGEA with his accustomed vehemence:
Imagine your outrage if someone tried to open a casino next door to your house and said that children were welcome to come in and gamble. In effect, that is what these offshore casino sites are doing as they turn the computer in your child’s bedroom into a slot machine.
The bill was voted orally, and then – at Congressman Bachus’s request – a recorded roll call vote was made, which the bill passed with a comfortable margin.
Frank had to introduce an amendment leaving professional sports leagues out of the bill at their express request. HR 6870 has one co-sponsor, Republican Congressman Peter King.
It is not clear when the bill will be discussed in Congress, since it is expected to close down for campaigning on September 26.