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Changes to UIGEA voted down in committee
WASHINGTON (6/26/08)—The House Financial Services Committee Wednesday rejected a bill that would have significantly revised the implementation of the controversial Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). The committee voted down the Payment System Protection Act (H.R. 5767), which would have forced the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Board to set aside their current proposal to implement the law on Internet gambling prohibitions. The bill was introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who is chairman of the financial services panel. H.R. 5767 would have required the implementing agencies to hammer out a definition of what constitutes unlawful Internet gambling and report it to Congress. Then, if Congress had no objections to the definition, the Treasury and Fed would go ahead and draw up the implementing rules for UIGEA. A proposed amendment, which was defeated on a 32-32 vote, would have required the Treasury Department to compile and maintain a list of unlawful Internet gambling businesses, so that credit unions and other financial institutions would actually know whose transactions should be blocked. Under the Internet gambling law, financial institutions must establish and implement policies and procedures to identify and block restricted transactions, or rely on those established by the payments system. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has voiced concerns that the provisions of the law could swamp credit unions and other financial institutions with compliance burdens. CUNA also opposes the agencies' draft implementation of the law, saying it lacks clarity and sufficient definition of terms. "We are obviously very disappointed that the committee was unable to report this important legislation to the full House for its consideration,” said Ryan Donovan after the Wednesday voice vote. Donovan is CUNA vice president of legislative affairs. “The proposed regulations represent an impossible compliance burden for credit unions and we will continue to work with Chairman and others on the Committee to resolve this issue.”

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