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Barney Frank: Cult Hero

iGaming Business recently ran a story about how Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank has become a cult hero to American gaming interests because of his "staunch opposition" to UIGEA (the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act).

As opposition to the bill grows, Frank is making more and more headlines as leader of the campaign to repeal the 2006 act. And opposition to the bill is appearing in all areas; blame it on the awkward nature of the law, which places the burden of enforcement on banking and financial institutions. That's the U.S. government's way of enforcing transactions that are based overseas: Since it doesn't have jurisdiction over such transactions, it's charging American-based financial institutions with the responsibility to refuse or reject any such transaction. Understandably, many in the banking sector are balking at such responsibility. 


But perhaps what's most inspiring about Frank's position is the basic attitude that government simply shouldn't interfere in what amounts to a personal choice: "If it affects me, mind your own business," the article quotes him as saying. "If affects others, let the government get involved."

That attitude is winning the 13-term Democrat strong support in the gaming industry, both political and financial. According to the article, Frank "has received $48,300 from poker interests since January of last year, amounting to around seven percent of his total re-election fund, and is increasingly cited by online gamblers as their standard-bearer."

… Recent donors to Frank’s re-election campaign have included a pit boss at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas alongside professional player Chris Moneymaker. In October, ten of America’s top poker pros including Annie Duke, Howard Lederer and Andy Bloch held a fundraiser at Frank’s Washington home.

Frank, who will be running for his 14th term in the US House of Representatives for Massachusetts’ Fourth District in November, also favors casino development in the state. He is reported to have reread John Stuart Mill's On Liberty before filing his legislation blocking UIGEA, HR 5767, and said that people should be allowed to gamble in the privacy of their own homes.

… Frank’s popularity has even seen him strike alliances with former adversaries such as Alfonse D’Amato, Chairman of the Poker Players Alliance lobby group.

'He's a powerful, well-respected member of the Congress,' said D'Amato, a conservative Republican from New York who was a US Senator from 1981 to 1999.

'That is important. He has been able to get members to look at this issue. No one has been able to do that.'
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