UIGEA Hearing

Mousey

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How can so many words come out of someone's mouth and still never answer a question?
 

winbig

Keep winning this amount.
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Pennsylvania
I'm still trying to figure out if she's helping our cause or hurting it....lmao

She's doing great on letting them know how many holes there are in the UIGEA....and how it can't be enforced.
 

Mousey

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P.S. .... I *heart* Barney. :D
 

winbig

Keep winning this amount.
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ahhh that was hilarious :D

Barney Frank said it best towards the end:

'betting on our economy is a gamble'



.....3 blind mice
 

Mousey

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You guys keep up with it for me if they start up again after lunch. I'll be out and about and not near a computer for awhile by then.
 

RobWin

closed account
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A Vault!
You guys keep up with it for me if they start up again after lunch. I'll be out and about and not near a computer for awhile by then.

Yes Mame, but only if you promise to change the avatar back for us...:D

Were already spoiled on the other one now and you know it's your fault...;)
 

Mousey

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Up$hitCreek
they're back. Credit Union rep up now w/her statement.

And I've got to go.

I'll think about the 'other' avatar. :rolleyes:

And if anyoje comes up with a link to the transcript or archive of this later, I'd much appreciate it.

Later, guys...
 

Mousey

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Up$hitCreek
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Wed Apr 2, 2:15 PM ET


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal Reserve and Treasury officials said on Wednesday they were struggling to craft rules to ban bank and credit card payments to illegal Internet gambling sites because federal law is unclear about what type of gambling is illegal online.

"That is something we're really struggling with," Louise Roseman, the Fed's director of reserve bank operations and payment systems, told a House Financial Services subcommittee.

"The challenge we have is interpreting ... federal laws that Congress itself isn't sure what they mean," Roseman said.

Congress passed a bill in 2006, when Republicans were still in control of the Senate and the House of Representatives, that prohibits companies from accepting payments in connection with "unlawful Internet gambling."

It also instructed the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department, in consultation with the Justice Department, to come up with rules to enforce the act.

But rather than define what types of gambling are illegal online, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 relied on ...

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I like the AP article better
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Dr.Paul's statement
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jetset

RIP Brian
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Overview

UIGEA LAW TOO AMBIGUOUS TO WORK SAY HEARING WITNESSES

Widespread media coverage for Congressional hearings on Washington's problem law

The US and international media gave extensive coverage to April 2nd's Congressional hearings on the hopelessly bogged down Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act regulations, with the consensus across a wide cross section of witnesses appearing to be that the law was just too ambiguous to work, and could have a serious adverse impact on e-commerce.

In opening the discussions, Proposed UIGEA Regulations: Burden without Benefit? Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology, said: "The focus of today's Subcommittee hearing is the proposed regulations to implement the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.

Gutierrez went on to summarise the status of the regulations, long delayed but finally submitted for discussion in October 2007 and the subject of over 200 formal critiques that mainly complained of the ambiguity of the regulations and the impracticalities and cost of implementing same.

"One of the most common complaints is that the proposed rules fail to sufficiently define key terms, leaving financial institutions with significant compliance difficulties," Gutierrez said. "For example, the regulation fails to adequately define what constitutes unlawful Internet gambling or a "restricted transaction," yet requires the financial institutions to make a determination on their own about what is lawful or unlawful.

"Consumers will be placed at risk of having lawful transactions blocked. It is easy to see how these regulations, if implemented in their current form, could wreak havoc on electronic commerce in the U.S."

The Congressman went on to give examples of the disruption the law could cause in areas of the economy such as general international remittances, and the heavy burden compliance would place on a financial services industry already labouring under overload during a time of economic and financial turmoil.

"Finally, I believe it is inappropriate to have financial institutions essentially acting as the final arbiter in determining which transactions are legal or illegal; especially when the result could be closing a consumers account," he said.

Feds admit to difficulties in crafting the regulations

Federal Reserve and Treasury officials gave evidence that they were struggling to craft the UIGEA rules because federal law is unclear about what type of gambling is illegal online.

"That is something we're really struggling with," Louise Roseman, the Fed's director of reserve bank operations and payment systems, said.

"The challenge we have is interpreting ... federal laws that Congress itself isn't sure what they mean," Roseman said, adding that one company that processes illegal Internet gambling transactions may also transact legitimate transfers which should not be blocked, thus making it almost impossible, or at least very difficult, to determine how to block illegal online gambling transactions.

"It will be very difficult to shut off payment systems for use of Internet gambling transactions. The implementing statute will not be iron clad at all," she concluded.

Director Roseman reiterated her comments in an interview with Talk Radio News, an service that provides information through its Washington branch to the White House, Capitol Hill and Pentagon staffed bureaus, and a New York office with a United Nations staffed bureau.

Congress passed the UIGEA late in 2006, in a rushed, late night session as the then Republican-controlled Congress was about to recess for electioneering, and after the legislation was tacked on to a totally unrelated "must pass" bill.

The legislation seeks to cripple the online gambling industry in the US, conservatively estimated to be worth $8 billion annually, by prohibiting financial transactions with online gambling companies.

Congress instructed the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department, in consultation with the Justice Department, to come up with rules to enforce the newly passed act, and government drafters have been grappling with the task ever since.

Associated Press commented on the hearings, reporting that federal officials gave evidence that Congress' ban on Internet gambling is so vague that figuring out how to enforce it is a struggle.

Whilst the Congressional ban sought to explicitly outlaw Internet gambling, it didn't offer a clear definition that everyone could agree on, instead referring to existing federal and state laws which themselves are ambiguous and provoke differing interpretations.

It places the burden on financial institutions by prohibiting them from accepting payments from credit cards, checks or electronic fund transfers to settle online wagers. The regulation doesn't attempt a definition of illegal online gambling, since Congress didn't give one.

Bankers protest at the burden

Wayne Abernathy of the American Bankers Association told the committee that the law "makes financial institutions the police, prosecutors and judges in place of real law enforcement officers."

"The UIGEA and the Proposed Rule do not provide a rational path towards halting unlawful Internet gambling," Abernathy 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.

"Imposing this enormous unfunded law enforcement mandate on banks in place of the government's law enforcement agencies is not likely to be a successful public policy."

Given that financial institutions process nearly 100 billion payments a year, according to Federal Reserve data, and given that other governments won't necessarily be cooperating, identifying which payments are gambling-related is no trivial task, said Leigh Williams, who spoke on behalf of the Financial Services Roundtable, which counts Visa, Mastercard, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and other banks as members.

The U.S. government's "decision not to fully define unlawful Internet gambling places our members in a very difficult position," he said. "They cannot know if a transaction is restricted unless they have in hand specifics of the transaction that in almost all instances they will not have."

Williams expressed concerns that enforcement of the proposed rules "...could impose significant compliance burdens on financial institutions by increasing their role in policing illegal activities, determining whether a transaction is illegal, or by imposing ambiguous compliance requirements that could be subject to wide variations in interpretation by regulators and law enforcement agencies. We believe these functions are more appropriate for law enforcement agencies."

At the very least, Williams said, the U.S. government should provide a list of names of Internet gambling businesses that can be identified and blocked - something that the authorities are unwilling to do.

Federal regulators have said it would be too expensive for them to create a list themselves, arguing that "the government must engage in an extensive legal analysis to determine whether the gambling Web site is used, at least in part, to place, receive or otherwise knowingly transmit unlawful bets or wagers" and that due process safeguards "would result in considerable added costs."

Clearly with that Federal position in mind, Williams pointed out that 'monitoring of websites' was "...inappropriate to include in a financial institution's monitoring activity."

Other groups protested that the law does not apply to them. Poker players contend they're not covered because poker is a game of skill and not chance. Horse-racing was exempted by Congress in a notorious carve-out that has created expensive World Trade Organisation hassles for the USA, yet without settling definitively whether online wagering on races breaks the law.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, who has introduced a bill to overturn UIGEA that is steadily gaining co-sponsors in Washington, described the UIGEA as "...a rather bizarre piece of legislation."

The committee heard that the law has caused international disputes, including an investigation launched last month by the European Union after European betting companies complained that Washington's actions against them were protectionist and infringing world trade rules.

Nevada's casino industry is reportedly neutral on the regulations, instead supporting a bill written by Nevada Democrat Shelley Berkley, that calls for a full and independent study of online gambling in its entirety.

Closing the first part of the hearings, chairman Gutierrez advised Ms. Louise Roseman from the Federal Reserve Bank, and Ms. Valerie Abend from the Department of Treasury, to tread very carefully in proceeding with the proposed regulations.

He remarked that there was more heated discussion, debate, and criticism of this topic than on any other his committee has seen in the year he has presided over it; "So be careful," he said.

Anti-online gambling politician Spencer Bachus - a Republican Congressman from Alabama, was almost alone in defending the UIGEA, again presenting a letter signed by 45 Attorneys General supporting the law, and again recounting the now ageing story of a high school student who robbed a bank to pay off an online gambling debt.

Illegal Internet gambling is a scourge on our society that leads to addiction and gambling addicts then turn to crime to support their habit, Bachus said, adding that in his opinion US banks have no problem working with law enforcement in ferreting out money-laundering and terrorist financing.

Addressing the letter from the Attorneys General, Congressman Frank pointed out that in his new law, the Internet Gambling Enforcement and Regulation Act (IGREA), there is a stipulation that allows individual states to opt out of allowing Internet gambling anyway.

Privacy concerns

Frank later made a telling point to the committee - that in the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve's 52-page draft regulations for the UIGEA, the word "identify" appears 61 times and "monitor" 18 times, yet the important word "Privacy" appears not once.

Frank told financial industry witnesses that there was "...a conflict between the obligation imposed on you by the act...and the privacy expectations of your customers."

Several witnesses voiced concern at the apparent hypocrisy of a law that allegedly existed for moral reasons, yet permitted and even encouraged extensive gambling via the Internet on horse racing, fantasy sports and lotteries through legislative carve-outs.

Congressman Ron Paul, the libertarian-minded Republican presidential candidate, criticised the UIGEA, saying "..people should make their own decisions" regarding the use of their disposable income in the privacy of their own homes.

"Though I do not endorse gambling per se, people should make their own decisions. It's a personal choice. I've always been concerned about this type of regulation and legislation - it's likely to open the door (to control and regulation) of the Internet itself," he said.

The Hill, a Washington DC publication widely read by politicians, reported on the hearings, saying that Congressman Frank and his IGREA were betting on exposing the UIGEA's "...murky language" to help overturn it altogether.

The publication went on to cover the testimony of the many witnesses, most of whom were critical of the UIGEA and its impracticalities and difficulty in implementation.

Lobbyist groups such as the Poker Players Alliance and the American Bankers Association have spent millions of dollars fighting to repeal the law, The Hill observed.

Economic hard times, the restructuring of the Federal Reserve and the countrys monetary policy are only adding fuel to opponents fire, the report commented, quoting Congressman Frank, who said the Financial Services Committee as well as the banks and the Federal Reserve should be more focused on predatory lending right now instead of trying to crack down on peoples personal habits.

Almost every sector affected by the (UIGEA) law complains about it, said Frank, who argued the law turns banks into gambling cops.

Frank also said the laws arbitrary exclusion for horse racing didnt make any sense to him. I thought it was gambling; perhaps its animal husbandry, the politician quipped.

Ted Kitada from Wells Fargo said that his company is involved in 30 million transactions a day. Figuring out which of those could be related to Internet gambling is not only cumbersome, but it could lead to mistakes that annoy customers, especially because Internet gambling sites could disguise themselves, he opined.

Jeffrey Sandman, a spokesman for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, said that, "U.S. banks and credit card companies, along with every other type of U.S. company involved in payment systems, would be forced to spend substantial resources to comply with a ban on Internet gambling that can be easily circumvented by anyone in the U.S. that wants to continue to gamble online.

"Testimony from the federal regulators and representatives of the financial services community made clear today that the prohibition on Internet gambling isn't working now and will not work in the future," he added.

In summary, the Congressional hearings this week gave an opportunity for expert testimony to be heard and widely reported, providing further evidence that the ban on Internet gambling intended through the UIGEA simply won't work.

Witnesses almost unanimously agreed that U.S. financial service companies would face serious regulatory burdens in attempting to enforce the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), a law that is not likely to stop millions of Americans from gambling online.

Testimony provided at the hearing can be found at
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Mousey

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I believe most (if not all) of the witnesses statements have now been uploaded and can be viewed as pdf files. Go to the link in Jetset's post and click on the highlighted names of the those who presented statements.

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silcnlayc

Just one more spin pleez!
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Hope this hasn't been posted yet...

Hope this hasn't been posted yet...

Published: Tuesday, April 08, 2008 Online-Casinos.com

HR 2046 WORRYING ONLINE GAMBLING OPPONENTS

Washington DC publication critical of anti-UIGEA hearings and IGREA

The growing number of co-sponsors for Congressman Barney Frank's Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act, together with the recent Congressional hearings that exposed the impracticalities of the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act that it seeks to overturn received coverage in the Washington DC publication "Townhall" this week.

In an article written by Paul M. Weyrich of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, the publication described gambling as "...a particularly destructive addiction, falsely leading people to believe that if they just bet on one more game they will turn a profit. In reality, many destroy their finances, their marriages and their lives." It did not quote any figures to illustrate the prevalence percentages of problem gambling despite the availability of this information from various recent surveys.

Unfortunately the author appeared to miss (or ignore) the point that regulation could provide more protection for online gamblers by providing them with websites that have to comply with stringent requirements regarding the exclusion of problem gambling and underage persons. Instead, it focused on the role of UIGEA - to disrupt financial transactions with online gambling companies - although it did concede that the federal authorities were still struggling to implement the law.

Ignored, too was the questionable manner in which the UIGEA was rammed through Congress back in October 2006 attached to the coat tails of an essential but totally unrelated bill as Congress was about to recess. And the notorious and hypocritical "carve-outs" for selective Internet gambling sectors such as horse-racing, and the World Trade Organisation hassles that this has generated for the US government are also avoided.

Weyrich examined the politicians and companies that oppose the UIGEA, reporting that last year the Poker Players Alliance spent $900 000 and claiming this was for the services of former Senator Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY), describing him as "its chief lobbyist", while the Interactive Gaming Council paid $1.28 million and PartyGaming $1.69 million for lobbyists from more than eight separate firms.

The article outlined the efforts made by Congressman Franks and other Capitol Hill politicians to bring HR 2046 and related bills which seek to regulate and tax online gambling in the United States to life, and reported that the consensus on last week's House Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology hearings appeared to be that the UIGEA did, indeed present a "Burden Without Benefit" on the financial services industry expected to enforce it.

The article then goes on to draw the rather simplistic conclusion that money is the motivation for the counter-UIGEA moves, again apparently overlooking the overall situation and the erosion of individual rights which the UIGEA represents.

Having emphasised the dangers of addictive gambling, Weyrich then criticises Congressman Frank for trying to legislate and control the circumstances in which it occurs. In doing so, Weyrich refers to the irony of Frank co-sponsoring HR 1170, the Comprehensive Awareness of Problem Gambling Act 2007 that requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to carry out a national campaign to increase knowledge and raise awareness of problem gambling.

Again disregarding the fact that most of the United States is home to almost every form of (land) gambling known to man, the Weyrich article then pontificates that the purpose of law in human society is to "promote the general welfare" of society, as the United States Constitution duly notes in its Preamble.

But, he notes: "It appears that Congress has removed itself from such a role. Instead, our elected officials have come to value tax dollars higher than a healthy society. Of course, such revenue then can be used to fund beloved social programs which deprive individuals of their self-respect and independence but provide lawmakers with solid voting blocs intent on keeping the "free" cash flowing their way."

The article ends with the recommendation that bills designed to regulate and licence online gambling should be opposed vigorously "...by all American citizens concerned about maintaining healthy communities." It claims that by not doing so those involved would share the responsibility for the financial and relational destruction that "....so frequently occurs in gambling's wake."

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Mousey

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I love this:
Weyrich article then pontificates that the purpose of law in human society is to "promote the general welfare" of society, as the United States Constitution duly notes in its Preamble
:rolleyes:

I suppose they next wish to outlaw booze, bacon, and M&Ms (they're already working on getting rid of tobacco products).
 

Mousey

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They have recently posted a link to the archived webcast of the hearing so we can watch it again. :thumbsup:

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