Preview of Dec. 3 Committee Hearing
Internet poker will be the topic Thursday on Capitol Hill as Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) leads a hearing of his two poker-related bills in the House Financial Services Committee of which he is chairman.
Poker Players Alliance leaders will be in Washington D.C. to attend the hearing, hoping to build on the momentum from last week's victory in extending the compliance date for the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
The Reasonable Prudence in Regulation Act, or HR 2266, would delay the UIGEA compliance date an additional six months to Dec. 1, 2010. More important is the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, or HR 2267, which would legalize, license and regulate the online poker industry. Frank introduced the bills back in early May, but they have sat untouched as more pressing national issues such as the economy and health care took center stage.
The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and can be watched live at the official House Committee on Financial Services site.
The Financial Services Committee includes 70 members — 41 Democrats and 29 Republicans. The full membership list can be viewed here.
Congressmen aren't required to attend the hearing themselves, and many may be thinking of sending representatives in their place.
The PPA is asking poker players, particularly those in the constituencies of members of the committee, to write their Congressman urging him or her to attend the hearing and support the legislation.
The PPA has prepared a new form letter with up-to-date information that can be sent to your Congressman in less than a minute.
"I think we have 60,000 to 100,000 members who reside in the Financial Services Committee districts," said PPA executive director John Pappas. "We need to make sure those voters continue telling their lawmakers to attend meetings and support their right to play."
It's an important time for poker players to make their voices heard because last week's victory is sure to awaken the opposition. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the Republican leader in the committee, co-signed with Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) the letter to the Department of Treasury and Federal Reserve Board opposing delay of the UIGEA compliance date. He is likely to be present and extremely vocal during the hearing.
Nineteen members of the committee, including Frank, signed a letter supporting the extension. Fourteen of the 18 who signed the letter with Frank are among the 63 co-signers on HR 2267.
"The PPA and our membership have done a good job elevating this issue with hundreds of thousands of phone calls and letters to Capitol Hill in 2009," Pappas said. "We think this deserves attention and we hope we can manage the debate at the hearing so those who ultimate oppose us will be neutered with the facts."
PokerNews is following this very closely and will have more information as it comes in. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.