H.R. 4777 approved by House Judiciary Committee

The House Judiciary Committee today approved legislation aimed at banning Internet gambling in the United States. H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, will now advance to the full House of Representatives for further consideration, although it may not reach floor votes this year because of a limited work schedule brought on by the November Congressional elections.

Introduced and co-sponsored by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), H.R. 4777 passed by a 25-11 vote. Committee members are also scheduled to vote on the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (H.R. 4111) , introduced by Iowa Republican Jim Leach.

Together, the two measures would effectively ban Americans from gambling online. H.R. 4777 aims to update the Wire Act of 1961, which prohibits gambling over telephone wires, to reflect technological realities in today's society, while H.R. 4111 would "create strong tools to help federal and state governments enforce existing gambling prohibitions."

Said Goodlatte at today's committee meeting, "In the United States, gambling is essentially illegal unless regulated by the states. This is a measure to work through that to make sure that the states are indeed protected in their right to continue to regulate gambling."

Analysts say the bill will pass in the full House where Republicans are trying to distance themselves from former Republican gambling lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who helped stop Goodlatte's previous attempts to pass similar legislation, and who recently pleaded guilty to charges of corruption.

"We are anxious to have the opportunity to expunge that smear," said Goodlatte.

The legislation is expected to have a harder time passing the Senate, however, as some states, including Nevada, are interested in legalizing, regulating, and taxing online gambling.

H.R. 4777 is supported by the U.S. Justice Department.

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