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Did Rep. Barney Frank sell the H.R. 5767 the "right way"?

Did Rep. Barney Frank sell the H.R. 5767 the "right way"? As all of you know, the H.R. 5767, Rep. Barney Frank's bill aiming at suspending all regulations stemming from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), failed. The bill was shut down at the Financial Services Committee last Wednesday, a committee chaired by the sponsor of the bill. And although we have already posted our opinion on the H.R. 5767 here, one question pops up in our mind - did Mr. Frank sell the bill the "right way"? Following the shut-down of H.R. 5767, Rep. Barney Frank published a piece on the Huffington Post (click here), blaming the social conservatives in the Republican Party for "maintaining the position that the federal government should be restrictive of individual choice in the matter of gambling and should compel the banks to be the banks to be the enforcers."

 While we applaud Rep. Barney Frank for his constant efforts to restore the freedom of adult Americans to make their own decisions, maybe the H.R. 5767 discussion should have never gone in the realms of "online gambling", "freedom" and "adult choices". Maybe if the discussion was strictly about the current situation the U.S. financial system is in, the mortgage crisis, and ever-increasing losses incurred by the banks in the past year, the outcome would be different? After all, the H.R. 5767 did not aim at repealing the UIGEA, rather lifting the burden imposed by the online gambling law on the financial system. Maybe if a bunch of bank representatives would have come and tell the committee, "Hey, we are in deep sh*# right now, don't bother us with some extra BS about online gambling!", the H.R. 5767 would have passed unanimously. After all, the social conservatives (which are found on both sides of the isle, let's not forget both Republicans and Democrats helped UIGEA pass) love regulating people's choices, but not businesses (see Financial Crisis).

 As we have said again and again, we don't care about the H.R. 5767, simply because the UIGEA would still have been on the books. It was a pure bank bill and it failed. What we care about is another bill sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank - H.R. 2046 - Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007, the bill which would bring regulations and oversight to online gambling in the U.S. But if we had learned one thing from the failure of H.R. 5767, that is the government is not ready to accept the fact that the country is largely populated by grown-ups, who should make their own decisions and suffer the consequences of those decisions, just like an adult would and should. If an amendment to the anti online gambling bill was easily defeated in committee, the future looks grim for the passage of H.R. 2046. All we are left with is the hope that when the time for Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007 comes, the political climate on Capitol Hill would be different...

 Published on 07/01/2008

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