Online Poker

HR 5767 Defeated as Lawmakers Disagree

by Poker Team

HR 5767 was essentially a bill that would have prohibited the government from setting any firm regulations on financial institutions based on the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) that was passed in 2006. Yesterday lawmakers failed to come to any agreements over illegal online gambling transactions as the vote was a 32-32 tie, which means the legislation fails under committee rules.

Republicans and Democrats Dissent

The tie was largely split down party lines as some Republicans argued that, “gambling is the fastest-growing addiction in the United States and having it online makes it accessible to children.” What is surprising about that statement is that this bill had nothing to do with actually gambling online. The UIGEA makes it illegal to transfer funds from financial institutions to already illegal online gambling sites. The law is ambiguous as it did not give a clear definition of illegal online gambling, instead relying on state and federal laws which have differing interpretations and are ambiguous on their own. See: Is online poker illegal?

Banking Industry

The UIGEA would put a considerable amount of pressure on the US banking industry to develop clear guidelines for handling such transactions within their companies. Financial institutions have argued that they are being forced into an enforcement role that will cost them thousands of dollars. Democrat, Barney Frank agrees:

“If there is ever a time not to burden the banks it is today,” Frank asserted. “Why are we making the banks lives miserable? We are putting the banks at risk. Giving banks the job of carrying out an unclear mandate when the banks are at such heavy stress doesn’t make sense.”

Frank said that Congress is putting the U.S. financial services industry at risk by not clarifying the regulations to enforce UIGEA and defining unlawful Internet gambling activities. “Hijacking the financial payment system at a time when it is under major stress and giving them the job of carrying out an unclear mandate doesn’t make sense.”

Republican Spencer Bachus believes that we have a right to protect our children:

“The banks have decided that this is a financial burden,” Bachus said. “We have decided, on the other hand, that our children are worth protecting.”

Ron Paul, a Republican Congressman from Texas, who co-sponsored HR 5767 with Barney Frank, indicated that he believes people have a right do what they please with their own money.

“If you can regulate the way people spend money on the Internet, you open up a whole new can of worms. Also there are special interests involved,” he commented. The real issue is what the role of government should be. When it comes to economic and moral behavior, this becomes a problem. Why can’t individuals make up their own minds? If it involves kids, the responsibility is with the parents. There are many more dangers out there than with gambling.”

Video of Ron Paul’s Opinion

Here is a video of Ron Paul’s opinion on HR 5767 and how it relates to regulating Internet gambling over the Internet:

Ron Paul Video

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