• Barney Frank Questions Online Gambling Study

    06 October 2007

    Newspaper

    Barney Frank Questions Online Game Study

    Barney Frank has 37 co-sponsors and is still gaining ground.

    Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) has publicly questioned what value there is to be gained from studies into online gambling, yet will continue to co-sponsor Rep. Shelley Berkley’s (D-Nev) bill calling for a one-year study of online gambling in the US.

    Rep. Frank is slowly building support for his own bill, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007 (IGREA), which seeks to regulate online gambling in the US. As Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Frank has been outspoken in his criticism of the highly-controversial Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which was passed last year on the back of the must-pass Safe Ports Act.

    Frank has only 37 co-sponsors for his bill, and has admitted support for regulation of online gambling has stalled. Yet he could receive a strong surge of support when the European Union makes their claim for damages against the U.S., after Antiqua won their appeal against the U.S. at the WTO (World Trade Organization).

    Antigua claimed the US was in breach of their GATS commitments when they attempted to block foreign online casino operators from accessing the US market through the UIGEA. The US claimed they made a mistake when they signed up to their agreements a few years ago. The WTO ruled in favor of Antigua, the US appealed the decision and lost. As a result, WTO members are lining up to claim compensation from the US with some analysts estimating the EU claims could be as high as $100 billion. If the EU presses for full compensation, Frank could well get a surge of co-sponsors which could result in the IGREA being rushed through Congress.

    Barney Franks said “I know the pressure is going to increase. I don’t know where it ends, but they are going to be asking big bucks from us”.

    Frank is a co-sponsor of Rep. Berkley’s bill, which will commission the National Academy of Sciences to carry out an independent study of online gambling in the U.S., of which Frank is a co-sponsor of this bill as well. Frank said “What’s to study? Whether or not I should be able to make my own bet with my own money?”

    Berkley has 64 co-sponsors for her bill. Which calls for the one year study of online gambling.

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