Internet gambling meeting scheduled
On Friday 13 October, 2006 the United States Government signed into law the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The UIGEA basically made it illegal for banks and financial institutions to process deposits and withdrawals from online gambling sites from US citizens.
Within hours of the act being passed into law, the vast majority of online poker sites refused to have American citizens as customers with one floated company losing over 60% of its value in the 24 hours after the bill was passed. Not only did American poker players suffer, and continue to suffer, from the legislation, European poker players saw a significant drop in traffic too, resulting in tougher games and less profits.
Congressman Barney Frank, amongst others, has been campaigning for the UIGEA to be overturned but he has so far been mostly unsuccessful. He attempted to pass a bill that delayed the UIGEA coming into force until December 2010 but only succeeded in delaying the act until June 2010.
The act came into full force on June 1, 2010 and although it appears to have had a limited effect on the industry as a whole, Frank and a number of pro-poker groups are campaigning for regulated internet gaming on a federal and state level. He is attempting to push through a bill known as HR 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, which essentially highlights comprehensive licencing and regulatory framework for internet gambling in the United States.
On Wednesday 21 July, there is a meeting scheduled at the House Financial Services Committee that will discuss HR 2267, which now has 69 co-sponsors from both Republican and Democrat politicians. The last hearing was on December 3, 2009 and was met with positive comments from those involved. In that particular meeting there were no representatives from the US Treasury and Federal Reserve, the people responsible for delaying the initial date of the UIGEA, but it is believed they will be present next Wednesday.
With the US, along with the majority of the World, facing hard economic times it is argued that in an instant poker could generate between $5bn and $10bn in taxes if regulated and taxed properly and efficiently. This statement alone should make the US Government stand up and take notice of bill HR 2267
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