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New Internet gambling bills unveiled
WASHINGTON (5/7/09)—Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is launching a new attempt to revise conditions imposed by a controversial 2006 law that, in part, forces financial institutions to block restricted Internet gambling transactions. Under the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), financial institutions must establish and implement policies and procedures to identify and block certain online gambling transactions, or rely on those established by the payments system. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA), and many others in the financial services industry, have warned that aspects the 2006 law are difficult, if not impossible, to implement. CUNA has also warned that an increased policing role, as demanded by UGIEA, could interfere with financial institutions' fundamental business to provide financial services to their communities. Frank introduced two bills Wednesday, one of which would delay the implementation of UIGEA rules for a year beyond their current effective date of Dec. 1, 2009. A companion bill, The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act of 2009, would establish a federal regulatory and enforcement framework under which Internet gambling operators could obtain licenses authorizing them to accept bets and wagers from individuals in the United States, according to a release from Frank. The Massachusetts Democrat is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. CUNA Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said Wednesday that CUNA would strongly support the one-year moratorium for the effective date. He reiterated that while CUNA remains neutral on the issue of whether online gambling should or shouldn’t be legal, the group strongly opposes forcing credit unions being placed in a position to police the activity. He said Frank’s second bill “doesn't put us in the position of enforcing the law.” CUNA's Valerie Moss, director of compliance information, said—from a compliance angle--credit unions should keep an eye on the bills’ progress. “However, they should not postpone moving ahead with compliance efforts at this point in the hope that the UIGEA requirements will be delayed or eliminated. Unfortunately, we can't count on that happening,” she said. Use the resource link below to read details of Frank’s bills and to access background information on UIGEA.
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