HR5767 MAY BE HEARD WEDNESDAY
Bill to halt UIGEA low on the roster The Payment Systems Protection Act (HR5767) introduced by Congressmen Barney Frank and Ron Paul to halt the implementation of regulations for the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) may be delayed to Wednesday this week due to its low positioning on the "to do" list for today's House Financial Services Committee deliberations. HR5767 is being closely watched as it goes to the mark up stage, and if nothing else it has again focused the mainstream press on the inequities and impracticalities of regulations that seek to use the banking system for the enforcement of anti-online gambling regulations that have been criticised for a lack of precision (see previous InfoPowa reports). The UIGEA seeks to halt financial transactions between US players and online gambling companies. Predictably, the major national sports leagues and some religious organisations, long opposed to Internet gambling, have been quick to urge support for the widely criticised regulations. The Family Research Council spokesman, Thomas E. McClusky, has lodged his views with the committee in a letter this month in which he claims: "Though we think the proposed regulations could be improved, we believe they are on the right track and strongly disagree with insinuations that they are unworkable because of a theoretical possibility of blocking some legal transactions with Internet gambling operators." Opposition has also been expressed by the National Football League, which generally takes the lead among the Amercian sports leagues in lobbying on issues. The NFL has criticised the Frank/Paul proposal, writing in a letter last week: "By passing UIGEA, Congress sent a strong signal that it was unwilling to tolerate sports betting and other gambling on the Internet." The NFL's Gene A. Washington sent the letter to members of the House Financial Services Committee who will be considering the bill, concluding that his organisation was "gravely concerned" that the Committee may act on legislation that would "interdict prompt implementation of UIGEA regulations."