July 26, 2010 (CAP News Wire) – As hinted at during last week’s House Financial Services Committee hearing for Barney Frank’s online gambling regulation bill (H.R. 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act), the bill now seems to be moving quickly through the initial stages of voting, with a markup already scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday, July 27.
Since it’s just over halfway through the year 2010, this means that the bill stands a good chance of advancing to full congressional votes before the year is over (and time runs out).
It’s almost certain that the failed but ambitious efforts of California and New Jersey to enact online gambling laws of their own — thereby most likely making federal online gambling regulation a lot more complicated — had something to do with Frank’s renewed effort to get his bill passed.
Last week’s hearing on this bill, and this week’s markup, are generating widespread media speculation.
“This mark up demonstrates that Congress is serious about moving Chairman Frank’s bill forward and establishing a strict regulatory framework for Internet gambling activity,” Michael Waxman, the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative’s spokesperson, stated in a news release. “The passage of this legislation would be a win-win as it will protect consumers, create an estimated 32,000 new jobs over five years and provide federal and state governments with as much as $72 billion in new revenues over ten years.”
On the other hand, the Christian Science Monitor (predictably) condemns the bill. “[The bill] undercuts the ability of states and Indian tribes to regulate gambling,” writes the magazine’s editorial board. “It doesn’t require operators of such sites to reside in the US where they can be properly regulated,” it adds, ignoring the fact that this is the very problem the legislation seeks to correct.
And, online gaming affiliates, make no mistake: If you support online gambling legalization — and if you’re in the casino affiliate program business and are based in the U.S., you probably should — Barney Frank’s bill, although not perfect, would be much better for affiliate marketing than a state-by-state system, which would probably restrict the foreign operators that most affiliates rely upon today. Frank’s bill would enable those companies to expand their operations with higher-profile market saturation and even presumably advertisements, all helping to drive affiliate marketing traffic.
That means that today’s most popular online gambling affiliate programs, like, say, bwin or PartyGaming, would not be shut out of the U.S. market, but given an opportunity to expand their operations here.