PayPal, eBay back Internet gambling ban

Online auction company eBay and its popular online payment service, PayPal, have come out in support of the two Congressional bills that would ban Internet gambling. Brian Bieron, senior director, federal government relations for eBay, sent a letter to Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who introduced H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, in Congress, commending him and his staff for introducing "commonsense legislation" to combat illegal Internet gambling in the United States.

Bieron says in the letter, "eBay believes that the most effective solution to this problem should target the law enforcement component of the Internet gambling business. Your bill is a crucial step toward clarifying that all forms of online gambling are illegal, as well as giving law enforcement officials the tools they need to target U.S. citizens who participate in illegal online gambling under the Wire Act."

The companies' support of Goodlatte's bill, H.R. 4777, also extends to H.R. 4411, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2005, also making its way through Congress. Read the entire letter on Goodlatte's web site in the "Letters of Support" section at

The letter to the Congressman was dated March 14, 2006, not long after PayPal's European division began permitting customers of Betfair Poker to deposit and withdraw funds via their service. In March, they also announced the same service for Ladbrokes Poker customers.

PayPal had previously stopped accepting payments for gambling services after it was acquired by eBay in 2002 and the two companies agreed to pay a $10 million fine in 2003 to settle allegations brought against them by the U.S. government that they aided illegal offshore and online gambling from mid-2000 to November 2002.

Though they're re-entering the online gambling business, PayPal isn't looking to make that same mistake again. They've stated they won't do business with companies that take bets from the U.S.

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