Barney Frank Introduces Online Gambling Bill

In 2006 the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed effectively removing the US from the global internet bingo market. The law was the brainchild of a few extremists in congress and was designed to pander to a tiny minority of the American population. US online bingo players suddenly found themselves unable to play at many bingo sites. Online bingo companies, many of them publicly traded companies, suddenly saw the value of their stock plummet.

On Wednesday Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank revealed the Internet Gambling Regulation Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act. The bill establishes licensing and regulation requirements for online gaming in the US. Legislation to delay the implementation of UIGEA regulations for one year was also introduced. The outgoing Bush administration using an underhanded tactic known as the ‘midnight drop’ implemented many UIGEA regulations in a deliberate attempt to make it difficult for the Obama administration to void the new rules.

The Frank bill is designed to protect US consumers including players of internet bingo games. Part of the bill states, “Internet gambling in the United States should be controlled by a strict Federal licensing and regulatory framework to protect underage and otherwise vulnerable individuals, to ensure the games are fair, to address the concerns of law enforcement, and to enforce any limitations on the activity established by the States and Indian tribes.” Online bingo sites must be in good legal standing, have safeguards in place to discourage underage and addictive gambling, and have safeguards to prevent money laundering.

The US Treasury Secretary will oversee the licensing companies doing business in the US and would regulate the industry. Online bingo sites would be taxed and one study estimated that the online gaming industry could generate as much as $52 billion over a 10 year period. The bill has a very good chance of passing and hopefully US online bingo players will be able to enjoy their favorite game again.