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Barney Frank Introduces Internet Gambling Regulation & Enforcement Act

Legislation, 2007-04-26, by Ozone

Congressman Barney Frank introduced a highly anticipated internet gambling bill today. It was expected that the he would introduce a bill that would call for the repeal of the Unlawful Gambling Internet Enforcement Act (UIGEA). Signed into law by President Bush last October, the UIGEA effectively banned online gambling in the United States by making it illegal for banks to process payments related to online gambling. Instead of simply calling for a repeal of the UIGEA, Frank's bill seeks to regulate online gambling in the US.

The bill, titled the Internet Gambling Regulation & Enforcement Act, proposes a federal licensing and regulation structure for offshore internet gambling companies. Under Frank's bill, the UIGEA will remain in place; banks will still be prevented from doing business with illegal operators. However, Frank's bill provides internet gambling companies with the opportunity to operate legally in the US. To do this, they must seek a license from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Scrutiny involving criminal background checks and concession to the US Government for jurisdiction and tax liability purposes would be part of the licensing process.

Furthermore, companies would be prohibited from accepting a bet or wager that is initiated in a jurisdiction that prohibits that type of internet gambling. For example, online gambling is currently illegal in the state of Washington. Licensed operators would be responsible for ensuring none of their customers place a bet from this state. Companies would also be prohibited from soliciting wagers involving action from any sports league that has opted out of authorizing internet gambling activities.

The bill calls FinCEN into responsibility for ensuring that licensees have safeguards in place to prevent underage gambling, combat money laundering, deter compulsive internet gambling, and ensure that individuals placing bets are physically located in a jurisdiction that permits such gambling.

Frank admitted this bill is a longshot to make it through the House by saying, "the votes aren't there to change it right away."

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