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Poker Players "Bank on Frank"

September 17, 2008 ( —'s Brett C offers the following analysis of Barney Frank's recent legislative win: 


Change is coming
Chairman Barney Frank finally closed the deal in the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday. Online poker players will be thrilled that HR 6870 – the Payments System Protection Act – was approved by a 30-19 vote. This effectively means Congress is going to be discussing this in 2009.

Frank has long championed regulating the industry, as evidenced by his attempts at halting the regulations of the UIGEA. Back then, Frank and fellow Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) hit a brick wall, but not this time around.

The details
The PSPA (HR 6870) expressly calls for the suspension of the UIGEA except under certain conditions, mainly pertaining to prohibited betting. Such activities include pro and amateur sports betting. The bill would prevent banks from permitting betting on pro sports leagues.

Further details relate to the formulation of a list detailing what is against the law under the UIGEA.

Opponents stand firm
The usual suspects in congressman Spencer Bachus came out against the bill. While Bachus appreciated the clarification on halting financial institutions from supporting sports betting, he is against allowing any online gambling in the country. For his part, Bachus has beseeched the Treasury and Federal Reserve to fully implement the UIGEA regulations.

Additionally sports leagues have voiced disapproval with the bill, despite there being legal sports books in Las Vegas.

Barney Frank admits much work has yet to be done in clarifying the legalities of various online gambling activities. He was quoted as saying: "How people spend their leisure time should not be made illegal or encouraged in a free society. If you're going to [impose restrictions using the UIGEA], you're hijacking the banking system. If this bill is passed, I would still like to repeal the law. Under this bill, at least the banks will know what is and isn't illegal."

Online poker players raise their glasses
Barney Frank introduced an amended bill which included express descriptions of both legal and illegal activities under the UIGEA for submission to financial institutions. An oral vote secured its passing and even Congressman Bachus' insistence on a roll call vote failed to halt its passing.

This truly was a day that online poker players raised their glasses in celebration!