Congress Hearings on Gambling: Summary

Published April 3, 2008 by OCR Editor

Congress Hearings on Gambling: Summary

Selected quotes and comments made by participants and analyst during and after the US congress Hearing on the US Gambling Ban.

The Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology Subcommittee of the US Congress has held hearings on the nation's gambling ban Wednesday, April 2, 2008.

Following are quotes gathered throughout the day, which express best the general agreement that the ban, known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, or UIGEA, is ambiguous and difficult to implement.

The Hearings
Congress debated yesterday over the proposed UIGEA regulations, hosted by Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL), chairman of the Subcommittee.

Also participating as witnesses were Ms. Louise L. Roseman, Director of the Division of Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Ms. Valerie Abend of the US Department of the Treasury; Ms. Harriet May on behalf of the Credit Union National Association; Mr. Wayne A. Abernathy, of the American Bankers Association; Mr. Leigh Williams, BITS President, The Financial Services Roundtable; Mr. Ted Teruo Kitada of Wells Fargo & Co.

Conventional Wisdom
It is largely accepted and agreed by the feds themselves and certainly by the guest witnesses from the banking and financial organizations that the Internet gambling law is ambiguous.

Amongst the gambling community, our correspondent has stated this notion earlier.

At the end of the day, the expert testimony provided - selected quotes of which follow - offers further evidence that the ban just won't work.

Prohibition is a Failure
Chairman Gutierrez said in his opening statement: "I believe it is inappropriate to have financial institutions essentially acting as the final arbiter in determining which transactions are legal or illegal." With this statement he set the tone for the discussion to follow.

Ms. Louise Roseman, Director, Division of Federal Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, said: "The implementing statute will not be iron clad at all."

Mr. Wayne Abernathy, American Bankers Association's executive vice president of financial institutions policy and regulatory affairs said: "The path leads to an increased cost and administrative burden to the banks and an erosion in the performance of the payments system, but it will not result in stopping illegal Internet gambling transactions."

Mr. Leigh Williams, president of the technology division of the Financial Services Roundtable said: "We believe these functions are more appropriate for law enforcement agencies."
the current statute and implementing

Ms. Harriet May said: "The current statute and implementing proposal contain several components of great concern, and we urge Congress to take action to address the hardships that will otherwise arise."

Mr. Ted Teruo Kitada opened up for discussion the difficulty to implement the ban on an international level, saying: "Policies and procedures deemed to be reasonably designed must include instances when wire transfer services should be denied and circumstances under which the correspondent account should be closed with respect to a foreign bank."

Mr. Jeffrey Sandman, spokesman for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, said: "Testimony... made clear today that the prohibition on Internet gambling isn't working now and will not work in the future." He added that the financial expense required to force compliance would be too great for US banks and credit card companies.

Finally, Congressman Ron Paul expressed his support of IGREA, or HR 2046, which he is a cosponsor along with Rep. Barney Frank, and oppose these new regulations altogether. His short statement appears in the video on this page.

One more
For the official Online Casino Reports editorial response to the hearings, visit the blog:BLOG


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