Saturday, 24 July 2010

H.R. 2267

Good news could be just around the corner for those of us who would like to see Betfair open its doors to residents of the world's top economy and allow them to decide for themselves if they would like to bet online or not.

Gambling is legal under US federal law, with each state free to regulate or prohibit it.*

Online gambling has, until now, been more tightly regulated. The Federal Wire Act of 1961 outlawed interstate wagering on sports but did not address other forms of gambling. It has been the subject of court cases. A late amendment sneaked in as part of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (part of the SAFE Port Act) did not specifically prohibit online gambling, but outlawed financial transactions involving online gambling service providers. Betfair was one on several offshore gambling providers that reacted by shutting down their services for US customers, even though gambling itself was not illegal.

It would be nice to see some common sense be applied. Baseball and NHL liquidity needs a boost.

The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2267) which was debated at a Congressional hearing this week is set to be amended or marked up by the House Financial Services Committee next Tuesday.

Michael Waxman, spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative tells WebProNews "Chairman [Barney] Frank is clearly intent on moving forward his legislation to regulate online gambling activity."

"This mark up demonstrates that Congress is serious about moving Chairman Frank's bill forward and establishing a strict regulatory framework for Internet gambling activity," said Waxman.

"The passage of this legislation would be a win-win as it will protect consumers, create an estimated 32,000 new jobs over five years and provide federal and state governments with as much as $72 billion in new revenues over ten years."

The legislation, introduced by Chairman Frank in May 2009, would establish a framework to permit licensed gambling operators to accept wagers from individuals in the U.S. In addition to mandating an array of consumer protections, the legislation reinforces the rights of each state to determine whether or not to allow Internet gambling activity for people accessing the Internet within the state and to apply other restrictions on the activity as determined necessary.

Since its introduction, a bi-partisan group of 69 co-sponsors has signed onto the legislation. A recent analysis by H2 Gambling capital predicts that Internet gambling regulation would create as many as 32,000 jobs over its first five years.

"During this difficult economy, the revenue and job creation potential that regulated Internet gambling provides will go a long way to help states and families alike balance their budgets," said Waxman.

* Gambling is totally illegal in just two states, Hawaii is one - you can guess the other, with one state (Tennessee) allowing lotteries but banning gambling for charitable causes. That's a bit mean! 'Wifey'-to-be is from one of the more liberal states although people there, and the US as a whole, are still somewhat surprised when you tell them that England has betting shops in just about every High Street in the country.


Handy Andy said...

What I have never understood is why did Party Poker eject their US clients but Pokerstars continued as if nothing had happened allowing them to take advantage of market share!

Cassini said...

Yes, some inconsistencies for sure. Another is that BETDAQ allows you to bet from the US, Betfair doesn't. All very confusing!