HR 5767 Slashed Down at the Kneecaps

Sneaky poker political move falls short in House committee

by , Jun 25, 2008 | 5:18 pm

HR 5767, the poker legislation providing the quickest route to undoing the UIGEA, failed to make it out of committee today. This means anti-UIGEA efforts will likely have to rely on more hard work to rally support behind an unpopular issue than slick process maneuvers for now.

The bill was bare-bones from the start, and the plan was to attach an amendment — the King Amendment (Rep. Peter King – R, NY) — which basically said, “Yo, the banks have to cut off some legal businesses (horse racing) because of this UIGEA thingy and it’s not very effective against the bad guys anyway, so let’s do our banking pals a fave and suspend the whole damn thing while we figure it all out. Cool?”

Sounds like sensible government to me … but apparently some members of the House Financial Services committee were suspicious that sumpin’ was up … and the amendment fell one vote short, 32-32. (It’s a 70-member committee — not sure how it broke down, by party or otherwise, nor who the abstainers/no-shows were.) Without the King Amendment passing by a WIDE margin, the whole strategy behind sneaking pushing a quick bank-fix vote through Congress proper kinda fell apart, so committee chair Rep. Barney Frank decided not to put HR 5767 to a role call vote.

I am pretty sure this effectively kills 5767 … little to no chance it will be resurrected. And I have to say, the results of today’s committee hearing are pretty discouraging. More TK on why, but click below to read the statement from PPA Chairman Alfonse D’Amato, which just came over the transom:

Statement by PPA Chairman D’Amato on Mark Up of H.R. 5767

Washington, D.C. (June 25, 2008) – Former Senator Alfonse D’Amato, chairman of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with over one million members nationwide, today issued the following statement on the House Financial Services Committee’s failure to pass H.R. 5767, the “Payment Systems Protection Act,” by a vote of 32-32.

“The PPA is surprised that the Financial Services Committee today failed to clarify what constitutes ‘unlawful Internet gambling’ under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The King Amendment would have required a separate formal rulemaking with an administrative law judge to determine the definition of unlawful Internet gambling.

“The Federal Reserve, Department of Treasury and the banking industry have all testified before Congress that the lack of a definition of ‘unlawful Internet gambling’ makes it extremely difficult if not impossible to enforce this law and would result in a broader review and denial of financial transactions because they could possibly be deemed unlawful under UIGEA

“It is disappointing to realize that opponents of this legislation still do not truly understand the intent of the bill. It was clear today that those who oppose this bill chose to focus on emotional and non-germane issues, such as the harmful impact of gambling on children, instead of on the merits of the bill itself.

“As it stands, UIGEA is a completely unworkable and unenforceable bill that would do little to address the main concerns of its sponsors – namely, protecting underage and compulsive gamblers as well as cracking down on money laundering. To truly address these issues, the PPA firmly believes that Congress should implement thoughtful and effective regulation of the online gambling industry as opposed to outright prohibitions, which history has shown do not work.

“Unfortunately, debate over the morality of gambling trumped debate on the fact that UIGEA is completely ineffective and unenforceable.”

About The Poker Players Alliance

The Poker Players Alliance ( is a nonprofit membership organization comprised of over 1,000,000 online and offline poker players and enthusiasts from around the United States who have joined together to speak with one voice to promote the game and to protect poker players’ rights.

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