The office of US Congressman Barney Frank, who is chairman of the House financial services committee, has confirmed that he is currently working on legislation to repeal the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
The news item appeared this afternoon on the Financial Times website and has been confirmed to eGaming Review by Frank’s press department. The details of how any repeal would take action have not been worked out and no timeframe was given.
Frank is quoted as describing last autumn’s Act as one of the “stupidest laws” ever passed and adds: “I am working on legislation to cut back on this internet gambling thing… I think it’s preposterous”.
While rumours of Barney Frank’s support for a repeal of the Act had been circulating around the egaming industry in the past few weeks, Frank himself had not confirmed or commented on them. Shares in PartyGaming, 888 and Sportingbet were all up this afternoon.
The FT says the mid-term Democratic victory in the US Congress brought some hope to the online gaming sector and John Conyers, chairman of the House judiciary committee, is also considered sympathetic to the industry.
But while Frank and Conyers are “powerful potential allies, it is far from clear that the lawmakers would have enough support to pass any meaningful legislation” because it is not clear “whether the votes would be there for a regulatory bill”.
The FT adds that the US treasury is currently drafting the rules to implement the Act but that the deadline for presenting them has been missed and is now expected in April or May.