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Jeff Ifrah quoted in Washington Internet Daily Article about the effect of incoming chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Baucus, on the potential for legalizing online gaming.

By Kamala Lane
Washington Internet Daily
November 8, 2010

If Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., chairs the House Financial Services Committee next Congress, he may have more influence in seeking to block efforts to legalize online gambling. But should Bachus become chairman, it wouldn’t be an automatic loss for the cause, some legalization supporters said. It wouldn’t help the push for online gambling regulation, said Michael Waxman, spokesman for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative. “However, I don’t believe the incoming chairman can stand in the way of this legislation getting through.”

Lawmakers in foreign countries where Internet gambling is legal shared Bachus’ concerns at some point, said attorney Jeff Ifrah, who advises on interactive gaming issues: “Regulators from those foreign gambling commissions have asked similar questions and those regulators were satisfied with the answers received from supporters. In the same vein I’d expect him to be satisfied as well.”

The bipartisan support received when e-gaming legalization bill, HR-2267, by Chairman Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., was approved by the committee should continue to hold, Waxman said. “There are many arguments that can be made for online gambling regulation and members may come on board in the next Congress because of the opportunity to protect consumers, or capture much-needed new revenue.”

If Frank’s legislation doesn’t pass during the current congressional lame duck session, “they would have to start all over again with the committee under Bachus,” Ifrah said. “It could go to another committee, but the idea is that with the processes and payments involved in the bill, the legislation should have the insight and experience” of Financial Services.

While there has been more movement and discussion in the House, senators could be ready to act, they agreed. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has drafted legislation that proposes legalizing online poker, according to The Wall Street Journal. “I think everyone’s focusing on that right now,” Ifrah said. The Reid bill has support from online and brick-and-mortar casinos, he said. It has “the promise of significant revenue with the security of safe and regulated gaming and ensures that it’s not abused by minors or addicts,” he said. Bachus’s and Reid’s offices did not respond to requests for comment.