Media Anticipation High for New Frank Bill
May 6, 2009 (CAP Newswire) – In stark contrast to the minimal coverage offered by mainstream media outlets last year when U.S. Congressman Barney Frank introduced his most recent version of legislation designed to regulate the online gambling industry, this time around many of the world’s premier news organizations are providing high-profile coverage in anticipation of the new bill.
In addition to the coverage in Reuters that we summarized yesterday, a host of other publications have also covered the story: Forbes, Bloomberg, The Financial Times, The Boston Globe, InformationWeek, PC Magazine, The London Telegraph, and The Washington Times, just to name a few. Plus, it’s a god bet that, after the bill is actually released today, the story will garner even more coverage. And as the bill works its way through Congress, the media is likely to report on the political arguments it generates.
The result can only be positive news for the online gambling industry, which has been struggling to cope with the restrictions implemented in the U.S. by the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006) for the past several years. This has caused friction between the U.S. and the EU trade relations, as well as tension between the U.S. and the U.K. government as the American Department of Justice harshly prosecuted British gambling companies for doing nothing more than operating in the U.S. market.
Amazingly, all this activity barely rated a mention in high-profile media outlets prior to this year. The feeling, apparently, was that this was not a big enough story to generate interest among the public. That’s changed in recent months, though, and the new push by Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank to basically nullify the UIGEA with a new set of online gambling regulations is finally getting the PR it deserves. And that’s likely to help the bill, since the UIGEA was passed with very little debate or public notice in the first place. In fact, much of the American public is barely aware of the UIGEA and is unclear on whether online gambling is or isn’t legal.
Here are some of the highlights to the recent coverage in anticipation of Frank’s Bill:
“The legislation would allow licensed gambling operators to accept online wagers from people in the United States,” write Jonathan D. Salant and Lorraine Woellert for Bloomberg news service. “ … Harrah's vice president Jan Jones said regulating and taxing online gambling might swell government coffers by $2 billion to $6 billion annually. ‘At a time where there is no money, that can be going to healthcare or S-CHIP,’ the children's insurance program, Jones said.”
“Frank's bill will on Wednesday propose safeguards against compulsive and underage gambling, money laundering, fraud and identity theft,” writes Parmy Olson for Forbes.com. “Getting the bill through the Senate will be the hardest part … But success could mean publicly traded firms outside the U.S. can re-enter the market after a 2006 law prohibiting online gambling by Americans booted them out.”
“A spokesman for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative praised Frank for his plans to unveil the new bill,” writes K.C. Jones in InformationWeek. “'Despite the current prohibition, millions of Americans wager more than $100 billion annually with offshore Internet gambling operators,' he said in a statement released Tuesday. 'Rather than tell Americans what they can and cannot do online in the privacy of their homes, chairman Frank's approach to regulate Internet gambling would protect consumers and allow the U.S. to generate billions in new revenue to fund critical government programs,’ the spokesman said.”
Of course, not all coverage will be positive, as the conservatives tend to view online gambling unfavorably. But for now, the industry should experience positive results from all this high-profile covage.
Click here to read the coverage at Forbes.com; click here to read Bloomberg.com’s report and click here to read the story at the InformationWeek. To view the dozens of other stories on the topic, simply search Google News for the terms “Barney Frank” and “gambling”.