July 22, 2010 (CAP News Wire) – The hearing for Barney Frank’s online gambling regulation bill in yesterday’s House Financial Services Committee session is being described as positive — and dramatic — and a full House markup may come as soon as Monday.

The debate was as usual for the bill (entitled H.R. 2267, or the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act), with rabid anti-gambling Representative Spencer Bachus leading the arguments against regulating online gambling and Barney Frank leading the arguments for doing so. There was little to no agreement between the two sides, which was to be predicted.

Bachus wasn’t the only one arguing against the bill, though. Michael Fagan, described as a “law enforcement consultant”, and Tom Malkasian, a California casino entrepreneur, were also opposed. 

“Ed Williams, member of the Board of Directors of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) spoke of the challenges faced by financial services companies who are forced to comply with burdensome rules in an attempt to prevent unlawful Internet gambling transactions,” states a news release by the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative. “Williams testified that H.R. 2267 would promote ‘ … regulatory simplicity while assisting financial institutions compliance with UIGEA.’” 

“This Committee and this Congress should not tolerate laws that seek to prevent responsible adults from playing a game we find stimulating, challenging and entertaining,” stated Annie Duke at the hearing, per a news release issued by the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) (which claims that Duke was speaking on their behalf).

“H.R. 2267 provides this freedom in a safe and regulated environment and I urge everyone on this Committee to support this common sense policy. However you might feel about gambling on the Internet, I would suggest that gambling with freedom is far more risky,” Duke added. 

“Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) said he would propose an amendment that included a stop-loss to address concerns that a player could lose more than he or she could afford,” writes Stephen A. Murphy at CardPlayer.com. “It is unclear whether that stop-loss provision would be optional or required; if it is the latter, more than a few high-stakes players are sure to be upset with the final product.”

The most interesting (not to mention surreal) part of this story is definitely the verbal showdown between anti-gambling Alabama Republican Spencer Bachus and UB.com poker pro Annie Duke “ … when the Congressman brought up the UltimateBet scandal and noted the panelist’s affiliation with the site,” Murphy writes. “Duke responded to Bacchus by correcting him on the overall amount of money involved in the scandal, and saying that such a situation was precisely the reason the federal government needed to act.”

And the most hopeful development is the possibility that the bill could move on to its next stage as early as Monday. “After a fairly standard hearing by internet gambling standards, Congressman John Campbell (R-CA) dropped a bombshell, alluding to a markup hearing of the bill next week,” writes Dan Cypra at Poker News Daily. But he adds: “As of the time of writing, no such hearing has been announced.”

Check out the Poker News Daily article linked to above for an excellent rundown of just what was said at yesterday’s hearing. And you can follow the progress of Barney Frank’s legislation here.

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