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Emily D. Swoboda

Reactions: The Frank-Paul Bill

21 April 2008

IGN's Take:

The Frank-Paul bill is an unambiguous signpost that Congress is taking seriously the UIGEA's potential impact on the U.S. banking industry.

With H.R. 5767, Congress has given the Treasury and Federal Reserve needed time to parse the UIGEA and perhaps glean what is intended by "unlawful Internet gambling."

Representatives Barney Frank and Ron Paul, libertarians hailing from opposite sides of the political aisle, have jointly introduced a bill, H.R. 5767, to prevent the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve from proposing, prescribing or implementing regulations under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

The UIGEA regulations, which were proposed in October 2007, (one year after the bill was enacted, and three months later than prescribed), have been a source of serious contention among interest groups on both sides -- prohibition, regulation -- of the U.S. Internet Gambling Debate.

Interactive Gaming News invited members from a number of interest groups to weigh in on what impact, if any, the Frank-Paul bill stands to have on the UIGEA rule-writing process.

For Regulation of Online Gambling

Peter Garuccio, Spokesman, American Bankers Association

When UIGEA was passed, while we were opposed to it, we were willing to work with members of Congress. But we made it clear to them that whatever rules were going to be promulgated as a result needed to be both workable and un-burdensome. As the rules have come out they are both unworkable and over-burdensome for the banking industry. It just really puts us in a position of having to play police or law enforcement to such a degree that we don't have the resources to devote to that kind thing.

The introduction of the Frank-Paul legislation, I'm not going to speculate on what its chances are because I just don't know. Anything can happen. I mean, Barney (Frank) is the chairman (of the House Financial Services Committee). And if the bill does what I understand it does -- and if, by some chance, it passes the House, passes the Senate and is signed into law -- then indeed it will stop the regulations.

I don't know what, legislatively, can be done, but clearly we appreciate the attempt by both Congressmen Frank and Paul.

Keith Furlong, Deputy Director, Interactive Gaming Council

They're (Mr. Frank and Mr. Paul) going to look at fixing something that was forced through Congress at the last minute on a bill that had to do with port security. It's good to see that the banking industry has some hesitation with regard to being the Internet police.

I think that it opens the issue again. Before it was: "Before you knew it there were going to be regulations." Now, this is a hurdle, and it actually shows that maybe Congress wants to move in a different direction.

I think the issue is bigger than one senator. They've tried to ban payments. They're attempting prohibition when in fact I think that, on its merits, regulation is a better solution for consumer protection, and for all the issues that proponents of a prohibition claim are why they want to prohibit.

I. Nelson Rose, Professor, Whittier Law School

I think it (the Frank-Paul bill) was intended to tell the agencies that a lot of the congressmen's constituencies are unhappy with the proposed regs. The goal is to slow things down until after the election. If it passes it will kill the regulatory process and thus gut the UIGEA. I think there is actually a chance it will pass, because now the banks are against the regs. In fact, no one is in favor of them, even the extreme religious right.

For Prohibition of Online Gambling

Chad Hills, Analyst, Focus on the Family

Barney Frank's bidding for foreign Internet casinos is fraught with irony: He claims we can do nothing to stop it all the while working to legalize it. He also has no reservation about spending taxpayers' money to help addicted gamblers even as he strives to expose millions more to this destructive vice. It's a sad day when a public servant like Representative Frank works so hard to willfully legislate harm to families under the false pretense of freedom.

Martin Gold, National Football League Lobbyist, Covington & Burling

We have been long-standing supporters of Internet gambling legislation so that state and local gambling laws could be enforced and would not be repealed de facto on the Internet.

The current legislation, the Frank-Paul bill, would have the effect of negating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 because it would bar by legislative injunction issuing any regulations to implement that act. Because we long-supported the passage of the act (the UIGEA), we must vigorously oppose the Frank-Paul bill.

Reactions: The Frank-Paul Bill is republished from
Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda