House Committee approves online betting ban

The House Judiciary Committee approved moving two bills forward in the legislative process that would effectively ban online wagering. H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, and H.R. 4411, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, will now be under consideration by the House of Representatives.

The committee voted 25-11 to pass H.R. 4777, a bill introduced by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) that would update the Wire Act of 1961. The act prohibits gambling over telephone wires and would now include new technologies such as the Internet.

H.R. 4411 was passed with a voice vote and would prohibit credit cards and checks from being used to make Internet gambling payments.

House Republican leaders want to merge the two bills into one that could be brought to the House floor in June. If the House approves the joint bill, it would still have to pass through the Senate before advancing to President Bush to be signed into law.

However, American Gambling Association president Frank Fahrenkopf pointed out there are only 35 remaining legislative days this year, and in order for the bills to be passed into law they must be consolidated, debated, and voted on during this limited period.

Several organization have come out against the bill including the Poker Players Alliance, Poker Freedom Advocacy Network, and the National Poker Association. Also, some states, such as Nevada, are interested in legalizing, regulating, and taxing online gambling rather than banning it.

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