HR 2267 Hearing Recap

Congress Considers Poker Position in Online Gambling Regs

by , Jul 21, 2010 | 4:26 pm

Watch the archived hearing here

Wednesday’s hearing on HR 2267, which would regulate and license Internet gambling, brought out strong opinions from both sides in over two hours of testimony in front of the House Financial Services Committee. The next step in the legislative process is a mark-up of the bill, tentatively planned for next week where members of the Committee can add amendments to the legislation, with a vote to move the bill out of Committee and have the full House of Representatives vote on the legislation later this year. A couple of items from the hearing:

Bachus v Duke on Ultimate Bet scandal

One of the more contentious moments of the hearing was when Ranking Member Spencer Bachus (R-AL) entered into evidence a two-year old article from discussing the Ultimate Bet superuser scandal. That article stated that over $75 million had been stolen from its players. Duke corrected Bachus, stating that the figure was $22 million, and the entire amount was refunded to its players. Duke also stated that the scandal was a reason why regulation would be beneficial to those who play online poker so that justice could be served for the parties responsible for the scandal.

Disagreement among opponents

Another point brought up during the hearing was while anti-terrorism/money laundering consultant Michael K. Fagan, a former US attorney, was against all forms of Internet gambling. Meanwhile, California cardroom executive Tom Malkasian was also against the legislation, but he and his coalition of California cardrooms and Native American casinos have been pushing hard for intrastate gambling in California. Another Native American executive, The Honorable Lynn Malerba of the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut was for the legislation, but the tribes had to be on a level playing field. Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA), who is against the legislation, got into a war of words with Malerba, stating the legislation could threaten the sovereignty of Native American casinos.

You can watch the hearing at the link above, and read the press release from the PPA regarding the hearing:

House Financial Services Committee Holds Hearing on Internet Poker Bill

Poker Professional Annie Duke Testifies on Behalf of PPA

Washington, DC (July 21, 2010) The Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide, thanked Chairman Frank for holding a hearing in the House Financial Services Committee on H.R. 2267, the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act, paving the way to a markup and successful vote on H.R. 2267 before the August recess.

H.R. 2267 establishes the needed licensing and regulatory framework for the United States to exercise appropriate control and oversight over Internet poker and other forms of Internet gaming. Testifying in support of the legislation were professional poker player Annie Duke, Ed Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer, Discovery Federal Credit Union and The Honorable Lynn Malerba, Tribal Chairwoman, Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut.  This legislation is further supported by a diverse network of organizations including the American business community and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“This Committee and this Congress should not tolerate laws that seek to prevent responsible adults from playing a game we find stimulating, challenging and entertaining.  H.R. 2267 provides this freedom in a safe and regulated environment and I urge everyone on this Committee to support this common sense policy.  However you might feel about gambling on the Internet, I would suggest that gambling with freedom is far more risky,” said Duke.  

“The testimony we heard today underscores the challenges faced by the Federal government due to the unclear definition of what now constitutes unlawful Internet gambling and the glaring lack of protections for consumers,” said PPA Executive Director John Pappas.  “Frankly, our opponents can’t offer a consistent argument on this issue.  Former U.S. Attorney Michael Fagan wants to go as far as banning Internet gambling outright, and Tom Malkasian of Commerce Casino supports licensing and regulation – just not a competitive marketplace.  It seems that our opponents don’t even agree with each other here,” continued Pappas.

“As interest in and awareness of licensing and regulating online poker grows among members of Congress and the Administration – and with it the consumer protection and tax revenue benefits that accompany licensing and regulation – the PPA is ready and eager to work with policymakers to continue moving this legislation through the process,” concluded Pappas.

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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