Another postponement of the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) is highly unlikely after Congressman Barney Frank said last week that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner promised Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona)that he would not block the UIGEA any longer.
Kyl threatened to block President Barack Obama's Treasury nominees from being officially confirmed by the Senate if Secretary Geithner continues to block the implementation of the UIGEA.
The PPA (Poker Players Alliance), which successfully petitioned for the postponement of the compliance deadline of Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) regulations to June 1st, 2010, will focus its attentions on polishing the final version of the law. PPA executive director John Pappas said that they are still planning to file another petition, not to delay the UIGEA but an exemption of some activities under it.
The Poker Players Alliance can petition Secretary Geithner to clarify what is considered "unlawful online poker gaming", a plan that would be approved by the banking industry. Pappas said that they will push for the definition to exempt peer-to-peer games like poker and pari-mutuel animal racing. The law is not supposed to affect horse racing, but it has already experienced some sort of blocking and is looking to clarify its exemption.
But the catch is that unless it is something that Sen. Kyl agreed to, Pappas does not think that Treasury Department would do it. So the game of poker needs to approval from Sen. Kyl who has spent the past twelve years supporting anti-poker legislation and recently used his political influence to get his way regarding UIGEA.
Pappas said that it will certainly be a difficult battle but they will not just give up on the issue. He added that although he is not making any promises, he remains hopeful that the issue will be resolved amicably since they have been talking with Sen. Kyl for a long time now.
To improve its bargaining position with the Treasury, the Poker Players Alliance hopes to convince Rep. Frank to push for a committee hearing in the House Financial Services Committee on the regulations of the UIGEA. The hearing would be a separate one from the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act that Rep. Frank plans to hold in May 2010.
Pappas said that the hearing would be a good time to explain why it is not a good idea to let the UIGEA go into effect. He said that while he does not know if it would be enough to convince the Treasury, it will certainly be enough to expose the weaknesses of the UIGEA and solidify the case for gaming regulation.
The hearing would also be a chance for Rep. Frank and others to ask regulators about the impact of the UIGEA once it is implemented. It is not clear whether Rep. Franl is interested in fighting the UIGEA further. Frank previously said that the enforcement of the UIGEA regulations will help attract support to dissolve the bill.
Pappas said that they hope that Rep. Frank has not given into the idea of a hold and unwilling to push for some change of the regulation between now and June 1st, 2010. He added that is still left to be decided.