Online Poker

Storm Brewing For Reform Efforts if Barney Frank Loses Seat

by Omar

The passing of the UIGEA several years ago significantly increased the amount of difficulty for many online poker players in the United States. Gone were the days that one could use online payment processors such as Neteller to shuttle funds in and out of their poker accounts. For some players, they were no longer able to play in their favorite online poker rooms (PartyPoker, Empire Poker etc.) The casual, recreational player found it more and more difficult to play their games. What this meant for the poker pro, however, was that the fish were no longer around to be preyed upon. This meant lower win rates and fewer people making a sustainable living playing poker online.

Ever since that time, players had been holding out hope that somehow, someone would come along and give them a voice on Capitol Hill. That someone turned out to be the Chairman of the Financial Services Committee, Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts. During his tenure which began in 2007, Frank has been a leader in creating and sponsoring different pieces of proposed legislation whose goals were to legalize and subsequently regulate and tax the online gambling industry. Frank’s pragmatic thought processes allowed him to realize and take a rational view that online gambling could provide viable revenue streams during these time of financial turmoil.

However, the very real possibility exists that Frank may not remain at his post to see his efforts through to the finish line. The upcoming elections will have a lot to say on the matter as should the Democrats lose control of their majority representation, Frank could lose his post. The Republican in line to potentially take over his post would be Congressman Spencer Bachus who has been quite vocal in his position opposing any such online gambling reform. This would be an absolute worst-case scenario for online gambling as during hearings for Frank’s sponsored bill, HR2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, Bachus opened the proceedings by saying

“After all of the talk of the past year of shutting the casinos down on Wall Street, why would we take steps today to open casinos in every bedroom and every dorm room on iPods, Blackberrys, iPhones, and computers?”

These words could be an indicator of a new set of obstacles in the online poekr industry’s path. Indeed all of the current progress could be derailed in short order.

These facts make it imperative that the need to act swiftly is upon lobbyists and organizations such as the PPA. The time to celebrate moderate gains is over; they must act now before all that hard work gets swept out to sea.

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