For Immediate Release
Contact: Michael Waxman
(202) 872-0010 or (202) 872-4860
House Financial Services Committee Members Call on Congress
to Prevent Implementation of Internet Gambling Ban
(Washington, D.C. – April 23, 2008) – The Chairman of the House Committee on
Financial Services and other leading committee members are seeking broad support for
new legislation that would stop the U.S. government from taking any steps to implement
regulations that require U.S. financial institutions to police Internet gambling. Testimony
before Congress earlier this month clearly showed that the proposed rules to implement
the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) are ambiguous and
also not likely to stop millions of Americans from gambling online.
“[R]epresentatives from the regulatory agencies themselves admitted that there are
substantial problems in crafting regulations to implement the UIGEA in a manner that
does not have a substantial adverse effect on the efficiency of the nation’s payment
system,” wrote House Committee on Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (DMass.),
Ranking Member Ron Paul (R-Texas) and committee members Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Peter King (R – N.Y.) in a letter sent to all members of Congress.
H.R. 5767 was introduced by Reps. Frank and Paul on April 10. It would prohibit the
Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve System from proposing, prescribing or
implementing any regulations required by UIGEA.
“These bi-partisan congressional leaders understand that the proposed regulations can’t
work. Their legislation would relieve U.S. financial services companies from the burden
of policing the Internet and implementing a ban on Internet gambling that is doomed to
fail,” said Jeffrey Sandman, spokesman for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling
Initiative. “U.S. financial services companies should be focusing their undivided
attention on the economy, not trying to stop people from exercising their freedom to use
the Internet to play poker, bet on horses, or engage in other types of gambling activities.”
Earlier this week, Reps. Frank, Paul, Gutierrez and King called on the Department of the
Treasury and Federal Reserve System to cease implementation of regulations related to
UIGEA. In letters addressed to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr. and Federal
Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, they wrote, “Given the many other priorities that
are pending at your agencies…we believe it would be imprudent for you to devote
additional agency resources to this Sisyphean task.”
Representatives from the Credit Union National Association, Financial Services
Roundtable, American Bankers Association and Wells Fargo & Co. testified about the
burden they would unnecessarily face before the House Committee on Financial
Service’s Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and
Technology on April 2. They testified that both UIGEA and the proposed regulations
were so ambiguous that they made it impossible to determine what may or may not be
Their comments reflect the concerns echoed in the more than 200 comments submitted
to the Department of the Treasury and Federal Reserve System.
Frank introduced legislation last year, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2046), that would regulate Internet gambling. The bill would require licensed Internet gambling operators to put in place safeguards to protect against underage and compulsive gambling and ensure the integrity of financial transactions.
A companion piece of legislation to the Frank bill introduced by Rep. Jim McDermott (DWA),
the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act of 2008 (H.R. 5523),
would ensure the collection of taxes on regulated Internet gambling activities. According
to a tax revenue analysis prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers, taxation of regulated
Internet gambling is expected to generate between $8.7 billion to $42.8 billion in federal
revenues over its first 10 years.
A copy of the letter on H.R. 5767 can be found at
About Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative
The Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative promotes the freedom of individuals to gamble online with the proper safeguards to protect consumers and ensure the integrity of financial transactions. For more information on the Initiative, please visit www.safeandsecureig.org. The Web site provides a means by which individuals can register support for regulated Internet gambling with their elected representatives.
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