The day that many wishing to change American gambling laws was yesterday, as the House of Representatives hosted a hearing on an online poker bill put forth by Rep. Barney Frank (D.-Mass.). Under discussion was Frank’s “Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act” or HR 2267.
Poker player Annie Duke testified in the informal hearing, as did representatives from the Credit Union National Association, the Mohegan tribe, and the Commerce Casino. Commerce Casino is affiliated with the Morongo band, a Native American group which seeks to create an intrastate poker network in California: This would be the first legal way to play online poker in the USA.
Interestingly the Commerce Casino representative, Tom Malkasian, stood in opposition to HR 2267, stated that “The legislation is fundamentally flawed and unsound” and that the law would “brazenly award foreign illegal operators.” Law enforcement official Michael Fagan worried that legalized online casinos in the United States would represent “money laundering risks.”
In representing the Poker Players Alliance lobby group, Duke explained that “HR 2267 is not a bill that expands Internet gambling in America. It simply provides the appropriate government safeguards to an industry that currently exists and continues to grow.”
Frank will be bringing HR 2267 before the House Financial Services in early August and, with enough votes in the committee, could advance the bill into the House of Representatives for an eventual vote there. However, Congress will adjourn session on October 8, making it unlikely that HR 2267 will be made into law in 2010