Online gambling will once again be the main topic on Capitol Hill when the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act will be evaluated in a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on May 7th, 2010. No formal announcement has been mace for the hearing date.
A representative of Rep. Jim McDermott's office (D-Washington) said that the hearing would probably be on May 17th, 2010 and that he had heard that May 19th, 2010 and May 20th, 2010 are also being considered as well. This will be the first time that the bill, sponsored by McDermott as a companion piece to Rep. Barney Frank's bill on online gaming regulation like for online poker, will have its own debate in Congress.
Rep. Frank held a hearing on his proposal in the House Financial Services Committee in December 2009 and had said that he was planning to hold another hearing in May 2010. However, Rep. Frank has shown intentions to hold talks on the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) before dealing with his regulation and licensing bill.
Since that hearing, which is originally scheduled on April 16th, 2010 but delayed due to a scheduling problem for the chairman, has yet to be rescheduled. It is appearing more unlikely that Rep. Frank's regulation and licensing bill gets another hearing before June 1st, 2010.
McDermott's proposal may have to carry the regulation and licensing on Capitol Hill this month. Neither Frank or McDermott's proposal could pass without each other. But the difference between them is that Frank's bill focuses on the pros of regulations and licensing while McDermott's bill deals on the potential profit from licensing and how that money should be handled.
John Pappas, the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), said that whenever Rep. Frank held hearing, there was never any talks of potential earning. Pappas said that the talks was always about online gaming and how to prevent consumer fraud, under-age gaming and money laundering. He added that it is also important to discuss how much can be raised from it and if it is a reliable revenue source for the government.
A vital member on the Ways and Means Committee is Eric Cantor (R-Virginia), the Minority Whip, who keeps an eye on all legislation and makes sure that Republican members are all present when vital measures are being decided upon. Cantor holds considerable influence in the party and if he picks a side on the issue, a lot of members are likely to follow his decision.
Pappas said that the committee is not familiar with the issue and it will be a very interesting and they are spending a lot of time talking to as many individuals as they can on the committee.
But they are not 100% sure on what are their position on the issue. He said that we will wait and see what members will show up and who cares about the whole issue.