Barney ‘frank’ on legal online gambling: He’s for it

Jun 13, 2011 9:19 AM

Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass) has remained a beacon of hope in the wake of two rounds of indictments that have shaken the online gambling community.

Frank wants you to know that he feels your pain, outrage and frustration, and is working to legalize Internet gambling. And surprisingly, he is confident that it will happen.

Just from talking with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle (Republicans), I can tell you that while it may not seem that way, there is some momentum building," Frank told Covers.com.

Frank says that Republicans are starting to feel pressure from banking interests, many of which may be getting more than a little nervous since some of their counterparts were caught up in the Dept. of Justice crackdowns coming out of New York and Maryland.

Frank says that he plans to talk with the Justice Dept. about the indictments, which he says were an "incredible waste of taxpayer resources." He thinks it "highly unlikely" that the indictments were part of a widespread, immediate effort to shut down all offshore gambling sites that service U.S. customers.

There is a school of thought that unless something can be done in Congress by this fall, the winter-spring-summer election season will make progress impossible until after the next Congress is seated in January 2013.

"I don’t agree with that," said Frank. "We can move forward regardless."

Frank has joined forces with California Republican John Campbell, jointly sponsoring legislation similar to that which passed the House Financial Services Committee (then chaired by Frank) last July but which did not get to the House floor.

The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act contains safeguards to prevent underage gambling and compulsive gambling, plus the customary firewalls regarding combating cheating, loss limits, tax evasion and money laundering.

This story is from Covers.com