Yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing regarding the legalization of online gambling. To provide you with the precursor to how this meeting unfolded, here is the statement offered by Congressman Barney Frank, who has a bill pending to repeal the current UIGEA Law scheduled to go into effect on June 1.
“H.R. 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act, creates a legal framework for licensing and regulating Online Gambling and is designed to work in tandem with Mr. McDermott’s bill, the subject of today’s hearing.
In 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was enacted, which restricted the use of the payments system for Americans who sought to gamble online. I believe that it is an inappropriate interference on the personal freedom of Americans, and should be undone.
H.R. 2267 is designed to protect consumers without restricting their freedom. I have always believed that it is a mistake to tell adults what to do with their own money. Some adults will spend their money foolishly, but it is not the purpose of the Federal Government to prevent them legally from doing it. We should ensure that they have appropriate consumer protections and information, but otherwise allow people to pursue activities that they enjoy which do not harm others.
American consumers who wish to gamble online are currently without safeguards against fraud, identity theft, underage and problem gambling and money laundering. Some operators adhere to rigorous regulatory regimes in foreign jurisdictions, but U.S. customers have no local recourse if they have a problem. And, more to the point for today’s hearing, billions of dollars in taxes – both under existing law and those that would be established under Mr. McDermott’s bill – remain uncollected. Enacting these bills would bring this industry out of the shadows, benefit consumers, and ensure that all of the revenue does not continue to exclusively benefit offshore operators.”
Any Internet gambling operator receiving a license would be required to have the appropriate safeguards in place to:
Ensure an individual placing a bet or wager is of legal age as defined by the law of the State or tribal area in which the individual is located at the time the bet or wager is placed.
Ensure an individual placing a bet or wager is physically located in a jurisdiction that permits Internet gambling at the time a bet or wager is placed.
There is a consensus that this bill may go to committee mark-up. If so, we will continue to keep you apprised of the outcome.