Making headlines across the USA and online media this morning is a story from the Reuters news agency confirming that Congressman Barney Frank's next attempt to overturn the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act will take place early May.
Speaking at the Reuters Global Financial Regulation Summit in Washington yesterday, Frank, who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said that he planned to introduce a bill next week to overturn a three-year-old US ban on Internet gambling. Frank said final drafting on the bill was being completed this week.
The legalization faces strong opposition from national sports leagues spearheaded by the NFL, rightist Christian and conservative groups and some Republican politicians.
"We'll be introducing it next week and I plan to move on it," said Frank, a senior Democrat.
The bill had been expected earlier, but Frank said his committee has been busy with other measures addressing the credit crisis and proposals to reform financial regulation.
The European Commission, said late last month in a draft report that a US Justice Department crackdown on European online gambling companies violated US commitments under the World Trade Organisation.
But the commission, which oversees trade policy for the 27-nation EU bloc, said it would seek a negotiated solution with the United States rather than file a WTO complaint.
EU online gambling firms lost billions of Euros in value after the US Congress in 2006 made it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to online gambling sites.
Republicans controlled the White House and Congress when the law was approved. Now, Democrats are in control in both branches of the government, but it is unclear how the Obama administration will handle the issue.
Speculation on whether the bill will gain sufficient traction to be effective has been intense over the past two weeks, with mainstream media taking an interest in the issue, and debate on whether cash strapped individual states are likely to view Internet gaming in a more favourable light as a source of tax revenues.
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