Mainstream media seems to have gotten into the Internet gambling arena with reports abounding about the â€˜victoryâ€™ for Barney Frank, et al. in Wednesdayâ€™s advancement of H.R. 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act. There has been extensive press on the passage of this bill out of the House Financial Services Committee
Mainstream media seems to have gotten into the Internet gambling arena with reports abounding about the â€˜victoryâ€™ for Barney Frank, et al. in Wednesdayâ€™s advancement of H.R. 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act. There has been extensive press on the passage of this bill out of the House Financial Services Committee with headlines that blare â€œOnline Gambling Could Become Legalâ€ and â€œHouse Panel Passes Measure to Legalize Some Internet Gamblingâ€.
Whoa there! This bill is far from passing anything except for a committee vote. Though this is a serious step in the right direction towards legalizing and regulating online gambling, this small victory is like a win in April for a MLB team. There are still many games to be played and many battles to be won for H.R. 2267. There will be many hurdles and many more hearings before H.R. 2267 becomes anything more than ‘Barney Frankâ€™s gambling billâ€™.
The biggest thing that shows the road ahead is long and winding was from the vote on Wednesday was when Frank mentioned, when questioned, that he would like to position his bill alongside a bill that outlines what taxes and revenues his Internet gambling bill may generate. Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said that he would not be moving H.R. 2267 forward unless it is â€œmarried to a revenue billâ€! Frank is referring to Rep. Jim McDermottâ€™s Interenet gambling ‘Internet gambling tax’ bill, H.R. 2268. However, while Frankâ€™s billl has significant support with 70 co-sponsors, McDermottâ€™s revenue-generating legislation has only 5 co-sponsors and has not seen any movement since it was introuced alongside Frankâ€™s bill last year.
Most likely H.R. 2268 will head down the same path as H.R. 2267 with a series of hearings, followed by a vote. But, this will not happen until after the Congressional recess, which lasts until Labor Day. By September candidates up for re-election will be busy trying to keep their jobs and will most likely have little time or enthusiasm for any forms of gambling. The really unfortunate news is that if nothing is done with this bill before the end of 2010, Internet gambling will be shelved and a new Congress will have to take up the issue all over again â€“ from square one.
But the biggest problem I see with Barney Frank’s bill moving forward is that even if the bill does get a full House vote and passes, it will then have to go to the Senate, where Sen. Menendez from New Jersey has his own ideas on Internet gambling. He introduced S.1597, the Internet Poker and Game of Skill Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act of 2009, in August of â€™09 and his bill has fallen flat, with no co-sponsors and no movement. It figures that Frank’s bill and Menedez’ bill would have to find some common ground before the Senate would vote. The chances of all of this happening in the last 4 months of 2010 are an extreme long shot, not even worthy of a $1 wager.
Still, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, introduced by Frank back in May of 2009 has made significant headway towards becoming law. The fact that seven Republicans saw the light and said â€˜ayeâ€™ with bipartisan spirit, is a fantastic step. That the bill passed through committee overwhelmingly with a 41-22 Yes vote is outstanding. After getting shot down in a tie vote around this time last year, the two-thirds margin shows that lobbyists and common sense and maybe a bit of greed for government coffers are beginning to take hold.
We will keep our eyes and ears to the ground on this piece of legislation but I doubt that we will see much from H.R. 2267 again this year. However, I am very confident that Barney Frank will introduce similar legislation in 2011. Hopefully, Franks 2011 version of the â€˜Internet gambling billâ€™ will include the amendments added this week. Such a bill would get immediate bi-partisan support and whiz through the phases of bureaucracy that took H.R 2267 fifteen months to navigate. One thing is for sure, the issue of Internet gambling is here to stay. For 2010? The recent press and attention that Internet gambling is getting could not have come at a better time. After all, football season is right around the corner.2 comments