April 3, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — Barney Frank, the U.S. Democratic Congressman and House Financial Services Committee Chairman who has spoken out repeatedly of his desire to overturn UIGEA — the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which attempts to criminalize financial transactions related to online gambling in the United States — is reportedly planning to unveil his next bill targeting the controversial law before the end of this month.
Probably sidetracked by the nationwide (and worldwide) financial crisis that has embroiled all of American life in recent months, Frank has reportedly postponed his introduction of the new bill, which he had initially planned to roll out in March.
In a recent article, however, Bluff Magazine quotes Frank as stating that the bill will be introduced "soon … after the [Congressional] break, definitely in April."
The bill is actually a reintroduction of a previous legislative effort, H.R. 2046, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act, which was originally introduced two years ago, in April 2007. That bill didn’t pass out of its initial committee, but it did pick up some support, and, since then, Frank has managed to win over more legislators to his cause. Combined with the new make-up of the U.S. Congress, the reintroduction of the bill stands a much better chance than the original.
Still, it may be a tough sell. Jennifer Newell of Bluff Magazine speculates on just how Frank may get the bill passed. "The choice of Frank to introduce the bill as a standalone one, however, puts its chances of passing into question. Not only will it be far more susceptible to criticism from opponents due to its higher visibility, it will require more effort to push it through both houses of Congress.
"The alternative, however, was to add it to legislation that would be sure to pass, similar to the way the UIGEA was passed initially, and Frank expressed his unwillingness to do that,” Newell continued. “A standalone bill is supported by people on both sides of the issue. The Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative (SSIGI) spokesman Jeffrey Sandman commented, ‘We welcome a standalone bill, which would allow for a thorough discussion of all the issues relating to regulations and consumer protections.’ And that sentiment was echoed by the Christian Coalition of America, represented by vice president of legislative affairs Jim Backlin, who opposes the proposed legislation but supports Frank’s methods. ‘I think it is good that Congressman Frank is not trying to attach it to a fast-track bill.’”