An important and long-delayed Congressional hearing regarding implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act (UIGEA) has now been confirmed for April 2, 2008. The hearing will be conducted by the Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology and will be chaired by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL).
The 10:00 am hearing in Congress's Rayburn House Office Building will be entitled "Proposed UIGEA Regulations: Burden without Benefit?" and will offer one of the first true Congressional examinations of the 2006 UIGEA, which was attached to unrelated, "must pass" port-security legislation by Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) in a maneuver that left the UIGEA unread by many Congressmen before it was passed into law. The hearing will examine the viability of the UIGEA, which has been termed unworkable by many affected parties, including America's powerful banking industry.
The latest hearing was mentioned a couple of weeks back by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), whose proposed IGREA (Internet Gambling Regulations and Enforcement Act) regulation remains one of the proposed alternatives, compared to the UIGEA, that are likely to be considered by Congress in the future. Other measures that been proposed by Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) and Rep. Pete McDermott (D-WA) may also be brought forward for consideration at the hearing. Wexler's bill for a "skill games" exemption for poker and other pastimes is favored by the poker world but has not been a priority for Congressman Frank, whose IGREA has more co-sponsors at this point than other measures related to Internet gambling. Wexler's IGRTEA (Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act), is pitched as a fiscally responsible alternative that will allow the US recoup tax revenues that Wexler and otehrs believe should go into US coffers, rather than flowing overseas.
The Poker Players Alliance has announced that they will offer a live webcast of the April 2nd Congressional hearing. Information on the pending webcast is available at pokerplayersalliance.org.