Internet gambling ban architect frustrated with regulation delays

WASHINGTON — The chief architect of the Internet gambling ban on Tuesday said he is losing patience with the Federal Reserve and the Department of Treasury as they struggle to craft regulations to enforce the ban.

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said the regulations are a year overdue, according to the 2006 prohibition statute.

"The longer it goes the less certainty there is," said Kyl, who was the first lawmaker to launch an effort to ban Internet gambling in 1996.

"I mean, the people who are violating the law need to know that they’re not going to be able the get away with it, and I think that the failure to get these regulations promulgated on time has perhaps given some hope, and it’s given life even to an idea over in the House of Representatives to put a moratorium on the regulations," Kyl said.

Kyl was referring to a bill introduced April 11 by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.

The Frank-Paul bill would block the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department from completing regulations to enforce the ban.

The legislation followed a financial services subcommittee hearing April 2 in which Federal Reserve and Treasury Department officials said the regulations are difficult to complete, partly because the 2006 ban does not define unlawful Internet gambling.

Louise Roseman, director of bank operations and payment systems for the Federal Reserve, also testified that the prohibition of Internet gambling cannot be "ironclad."

Another bill, which Frank introduced last year, would repeal the Internet gambling ban and require the Treasury Department to regulate Internet gambling in the United States.

Despite his frustration with the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department, Kyl said he is not worried about efforts to block the regulations and roll back the online wagering ban.

"I would be concerned if something like that were to be adopted by the House … I’m not sure that the momentum is there to actually get it done," Kyl said.

Jay Lakin, vice president of Poker Source Online and an opponent of the Internet gambling ban, said he reluctantly agrees.

"While many efforts have been made on behalf of overturning (the ban), so far it’s just been bills and words on paper," Lakin said. "Nothing has moved forward. Until there’s a change in Washington, I don’t think we’ll see much of a change."

Contact Washington Bureau reporter Tony Batt at tbatt@stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760.

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