Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), the chairman of the financial services committee in the House, wrote a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday, urging them to delay the implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act regulations for another 12 months.“We are writing to strongly urge you … to extend the date of compliance for the final regulations implementing the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act by one year,” Frank wrote, as reported by Reuters. The letter was signed by 19 lawmakers, most of whom have already signed on as co-sponsors to Frank’s bill to regulate the online gambling industry.The UIGEA , which prohibits financial institutions from transferring funds to online gambling operators, was passed in 2006. Banks must begin complying with the UIGEA regulations by Dec. 1 of this year.Frank’s renewed call to delay the implementations of the UIGEA is not entirely unexpected. John Pappas, the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, told Card Player last month that he hoped that the Congressman would move on that cause in a timely fashion.“We’re hopeful that if we can present to Chairman Frank a compromised bill, that could easily go through his committee without too much fighting and debate,” Pappas had said. “Hopefully, we wouldn’t even have to have a hearing. It could be a markup. A hearing is where you sit and talk about the bill. A markup is where you actually vote on it.”Frank introduced two poker-related bills in this legislative session, one to explicitly legalize and regulate the industry, and the other to simply delay the UIGEA implementation from Dec. 1, 2009 to Dec. 1, 2010. While the former bill has yet to make it to a committee vote, poker players are hoping the delay bill is more successful.Frank’s letter to Geithner and Bernanke shows that the delay bill is still very much on his radar. Alongside the Democratic Massachusetts Congressman’s name, a number of prominent Republicans also signed the letter, including Ron Paul (TX), Peter King (NY), and Judy Biggert (IL).The UIGEA severely hampered the online poker industry, forcing hundreds of online poker operators to shut their doors to American players. Frank has called the issue a matter of “personal freedom.”“My main motivation is to take the government out of private lives,” said Frank.
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