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Yabba-Dabba-Don't Jump To Conclusions Re: Barney Frank House Bills...By Nelson Lardner
The Internet can be a sensational source of unfiltered information. Hell, we're rapidly approaching the seminal example of that particular sentiment . . . the tenth anniversary of Monica's Stained Dress, news of which was first brought to you by the sometimes-correct (and sometimes-not!) Drudge Report.
Now, we're picking up on all kinds of comment and speculation, based on a couple of internet reports of questionable interpretive validity.
Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank introduced his H. R. 2046 - The Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act of 2007 - this past spring. Its wording effectively makes domestically-based internet gambling on major sports a non-starter - not that there weren't multiple obstacles mired in the way of that particular pie-in-the-sky already. The wording of the legislation clearly bows to online poker players . . .
. . . and to corporate casino interests, who no doubt would love to legally serve the United States market online with digital casino games and slots, with their percentages stealthily grinding away - without having to deal with those pesky sports bettors who might actually enjoy a tangible advantage in specific situations. Both MGM Grand and Harrah's - the most-significant corporate gaming presences on the domestic landscape, at this writing - have lined up solidly behind the Frank legislation, for all the obvious reasons.
Now, a week or so ago, an online report turned up that mentioned Frank's H. R. 2046 in conjunction with another Frank bill - H. R. 2895, the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund Act of 2007. This year's NAHTFA is the latest version of what has been a passion of Rep. Frank's for years . . . a bill designed to establish and sustain a million and a half units of affordable housing over the next decade. This specific wealth-shift would be at least partially funded by proceeds generated by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, and the Federal National Mortgage Association (Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, to you).
The first report we personally saw regarding this topic appeared on the iGamingBusiness.com website at: iGamingBusiness.com > US Internet Gambling Reform Bill In Danger. The lead graf of iGamingBusiness' story read as follows:
"A proposed Congressional Bill designed to reform online gaming in the United States could be in danger of becoming reality due to supplementary Legislation that promises a billion-dollar bonus for affordable housing."
Now, I'd call that unintentionally-misleading -- but iGamingBusiness does NOT say that H. R. 2895 is part and parcel of H. R. 2046.
But another gaming site (I'm not naming it - they do plenty of good work, I don't think it's fair in this context, and its identity has nothing to do with the point I'm attempting to make) subsequently alleged in cyberspace that the content of H. R. 2895 had been literally attached to H. R. 2046.
Even they're separately-numbered, that makes zero sense on its face. What's more, I cannot find any evidence of such a coupling, anywhere.
Given the GOP-dominated legislative environments of the recent past, Rep. Frank was wasting a good deal of time and energy trying to float a bill such as H. R. 2895, which goes counter to modern prevailing Republican instincts. But within the House, as currently-constituted, would have to say Frank has a shot at shepherding this through our larger national legislative body. Hearings on H. R. 2895 are scheduled to begin Thursday.
Given any perceived need to kowtow to their evangelical-conservative bases, a few GOP legislators in either house figure to be overly-eager to join hands with Rep. Frank regarding his new gaming legislation. But Republicans are unlikely to try to shoot either of Frank's bills down, solely because of the existence of the other. They're two entirely-separate pieces of legislation, folks.
There's considerable fireworks likely on the legal-gaming front in upcoming weeks - but not because of some oft-attempted housing legislation. The recent guilty plea by NETeller's co-founder, Stephen Lawrence - especially Lawrence's accompanying mea culpa - casts more dark shadows on the money-moving sector, since NETeller still maintains its iron grip on the monies previously-entrusted to them by tens of thousands of Americans, and the scheduled full-implementation of last fall's UIGEA is but weeks away.
Stay awake and alert, boys and girls. And don't believe everything you read.
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