Posts Tagged ‘HR 6870’

Special Interest Update: New Senate Poker Bill

S. 3616, the Internet Skill Game Licensing and Control Act

by , Oct 1, 2008 | 3:15 pm

The US Senate is hard at work … as we speak/type/read, they’re fixin’ to vote on their version of the Bush-Obama-McCain-endorsed $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill (currently at 450 pages) … hope that works out the way it should.

Meanwhile, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has introduced S. 3616, the Internet Skill Game Licensing and Control Act. Hmm, interesting timing … and more good work from the PPA (and good poker citizens) to make this happen. Poker big-wigs were told of a Senate bill in the making during Alfonse D’Amato’s visit to the WSOP this summer … so this wasn’t any hastily concocted measure.

Major provisions of this bill:

  • Thorough vetting of potential licensees;
  • Mandatory implementation of technologies to protect against underage gambling and to monitor and detect individuals with excessive gaming habits;
  • High standards to thwart fraud and abuse of customers;
  • Regulation to prevent money laundering; and,
  • Processes to prevent tax avoidance.

Kinda fascinating to see the (potential) future of online poker (potentially) taking shape, no? It’s taken nine bills to get to this point. Combine this one with the recent bipartisan pushing of HR 6870 from the House Financial Services Committee to the House floor — requiring clarification of the vague definition of “unlawful Internet gambling” contained in the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act after industry officials and regulators, including the Federal Reserve and Department of Treasury, testified to the UIGEA’s unworkable nature and the burden it places on the already troubled banking industry — and, well, you do the math.

The nation may or may not be on the verge of economic crumble, but as far as poker’s concerned, I think we’re looking at positive EV.

More from the PPA and the actual text of the S. 3616 here.

RE: Poker Bill Passes Committee (4) / Could Poker Help Bail Out American Banks

by , Sep 25, 2008 | 12:04 pm

Previous poker enemy Spencer Bachus (R-AL) — perhaps feeling bad about the outrageous mistruths spewed back in June? — seems to be softening on his opposition to the Payment Systems Protection Act.

Check it out
[Birmingham News, via Wicked Chops]

“A lot of people out there that play poker on the Internet – they may lose their money but they’re adults – and they went to their members of Congress,” Bachus said.

BTW, also interesting/delightful to see that (a collective internet effort from three Alabama newspapers, not to be confused with has a dedicated poker blogger on staff — Brian Heptinstall’s Floppin’ Aces — keeping ‘Bamans up to date with the bigger poker world as well as Gulf Coast casino biz and hyperlocal concerns such as collusion in mid-stakes area tourneys.

RE: Poker Bill Passes Committee (3)

(Democrats and) Republicans supporting Payment Systems Protection Act

by , Sep 18, 2008 | 8:40 am

Barney Frank (image:

We’ve all learned, through poker, quite a bit about the American legislative process … not just how cutthroat and pernicious it can be, but also about the long road of baby steps it takes for a (good) special interest — like poker — to get the theoretical majority of a state or nation to see things our way.

Not to over-celebrate a bill’s passing through committee (especially when it was originally expected to pass through that gate in June), but concerned poker citizens and the Poker Players Alliance deserve some big kudos for the progress, as the squeaky wheels are finally being heard, for better or for worse:

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is once again bringing up a bill this Tuesday to overturn the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). That makes eight bills that seek to dismantle the UIGEA, and countless hearings. No other issue, except perhaps the war, has garnered so much attention from the Democratic leadership. To find the reason for this sudden regret over the bipartisan bill Congress enacted, one simply needs to “follow the money.”

And that comes from people opposed to any poker measures — the United Conservatives of Virginia. Of course they know not what of they speak — that the UIGEA was not a bipartisan bill, but a skillful display of Republican dirty tricks. (There’s video evidence to prove this, too, so I can’t imagine the Go-UIGEA side really wanting to bring this up.)

And lest we think HR 6870, the Payment Systems Protection Act, isn’t bipartisan — it’s certainly Dem-friendly — there are plenty of Republicans out there who are getting tired of Focus on the Family politics … and in part because of them, now efforts to undo the UIGEA are being embraced by those who understand this entire area of legislation — money and the internet — is about way more than just poker …

From DCRepublican:

Very rarely will I say this, but I have to give Chairman Frank a great deal of credit for fighting this battle. In my opinion, the UIGEA is a piece of legislation that should have never been passed in the first place. But courtesy of a very Grasslean maneuver by Bill Frist, who inserted the bill in the dead of night just before recess packaging it as part of the SAFE Port Act, Congress now finds itself with an extremely important bill that nobody seems to understand (sound like Grassley and the Housing Bill?).

Dick Armey

Perhaps the best thing to come out of this expansion of discourse … two non-poker groups are now on board, encouraging their members to petition Congress for this bill’s passage. One such .org is FreedomWorks, led by Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX). He sees the UIGEA as an infringement on internet freedom and privacy, and HR 6870 as the way to right the course.

NetFreedomForever (apparently bankrolled by FreedomWorks) also deserves credit for helping convert some of the previous naysayers on HR 5767 into yaysayers on the compromise bill, HR 6870.

I can only suspect that congresspeople, upon hearing support from non-poker people, began to really think about what we’ve been saying all along. And in the eyes of the non-poker people, this issue is time-critical … because if we don’t pass it now — like in the next 10 days — then Congress will go into recess and before returning to session next year, the enforcement provisions of the UIGEA will actually be put into effect, further mucking up all sorts of online payment systems … not just poker.

RE: Poker Bill Passes Committee (2)

by , | 5:55 am

Below’s the breakdown of who voted how on HR 6870.

30 for
19 against
21 did not vote

Rather encouraging, too, when you see how many DNVs previously voted FOR … (even Ron Paul, the sponsor of this bill’s predeccessor, didn’t weigh in this time) … and realize that while some NAY’s were persuaded to change their vote, no decisions were reversed the other way. Nice job by Barney Frank, the PPA, and others working on poker’s sound fiscal policy’s behalf, especially with something that relieves at least a little bit of undue pressure on the beleaguered American banking system.

Poker Bill Passes Committee

One step closer to undoing the UIGEA

by , Sep 16, 2008 | 2:39 pm

Word from the PPA about Barney Frank’s second attempt to pass a bill through his own committee:

(Sports betting looks to be out … but this could also be a pretty simple way to get poker back in …)

Statement by PPA Chairman D’Amato on Passage of H.R. 6870

Washington, D.C. (September 16, 2008) – Former Senator Alfonse D’Amato, chairman of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), the leading poker grassroots advocacy group with more than one million members nationwide, today issued the following statement upon passage of H.R. 6870, the “Payment System Protection Act,” by the House Financial Services Committee.

“The PPA is pleased that the House Financial Services Committee today recognized the need to provide necessary clarification to what constitutes ‘unlawful Internet gambling’ under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) by passing H.R. 6870.

“This bipartisan compromise bill will rightfully advance the UIGEA to become immediately effective for such internet gambling that is clearly unlawful, namely sports betting.  The legislation also appropriately requires a formal rulemaking, overseen by an administrative law judge, to provide the clarification requested by the Department of Treasury and the Federal Reserve, among others, as to the definition of ‘unlawful Internet gambling.’

“Even those who oppose internet gambling should applaud the passage of this legislation as it provides the most realistic opportunity to block truly unlawful internet gambling transactions.

“The PPA congratulates the Republicans and Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee on reaching this strong compromise bill, and we look forward to enactment of this sound public policy during this legislative session.

“We thank Chairman Frank for his continued leadership on this important issue of protecting individual rights and personal responsibility.”