Online Gambling Bill HR 5767 Gains More Co-Sponsors
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While it is unlikely that any action will be taken this year to enforce the UIGEA through regulation, congressional representatives continue to endorse HR 5767, a bill that orders the Federal Reserve and the Dept. of the Treasury to cease trying to implement any rules that would govern the online gambling ban law.
Reps. Steven R. Rothman [NJ-9] and Steve Cohen [TN-9] have joined the effort to put a halt to a law, which no one in government can clearly define. Their co-sponsorship, along with 16 others, brings the total of committed congressional representatives to 18 that have joined with Rep. Barney Frank to stop the madness that the conservative right has forced upon its people.
This week, Dr. Errol Cort, Minister of Finance for the country of Antigua is in Washington to engage in talks with Susan Schwab, the United States Trade Representative and other members of the Federal government, over a disputed WTO settlement regarding Internet gambling in which Antigua was the victor.
The WTO imposed a six-month period in which the US and Antigua would sit down to negotiate an equitable settlement, that deadline is June 6. During the past six months, the US has not made any effort to talk with members of the Antiguan government regarding this issue. If there is no amicable agreement by that date, the case will go back to the WTO for a final determination and possible additional penalties imposed on the United States.
A hearing held by the House Financial Services Committee this year produced a wealth of information and new insight into the UIGEA. In testimony by members of the Fed and the Treasury, it was made clear that there is no simple way for the government to enforce this law, and the recommendations from those departments put the onus of enforcement on the private financial industry to police transactions.
Elected officials in Congress are grappling with a multitude of problems that affect our economy, security, housing and the looming recession, and see the UIGEA as not only a poorly defined, arbitrary law, but also one of violating individual rights of Americans to choose their recreational activity in the privacy of their homes.
As more congressional representatives familiarize themselves with this unfair, unenforceable law, they are joining the ranks of those who are fighting for the freedoms that America promises it citizens. It is now time for action. Concerned citizens should contact their representatives in Washington to express how strongly they feel about freedom and urge them to sign on to co-sponsor H.R. 5767.
In related news, Rep. Steve Rothman [NJ-9] has signed to co-sponsor a bill introduced by Florida Congressman Robert Wexler [FL-19] to exempt games of skill from the UIGEA , that bill H.R. 2610 has 22 co-sponsors.
Rep. Shelley Berkley [NV-1] has introduced bill H.R. 2140, which is to provide a study by the National Academy of Sciences to identify the proper response of the US to the growth of Internet gambling, that bill has seen recent co-sponsorship rise to 72, with the addition of Reps. Eliot Engel [NY-17], Ed Perlmutter [CO-7], Andre Carson [IN-7], and Tammy Baldwin [WI-2] joining the others in April.