U.S. Chamber of Commerce warns Senate about gambling bill

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has joined a growing list of trade associates that oppose part, if not all, of legislation under consideration by the U.S. government that would effectively ban most online gambling. The Chamber warned the Senate that the legislation would impose a serious "regulatory burden" on financial institutions.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce represents more than three million companies and organizations in the United States. In a letter reviewed by Dow Jones Newswires, the Chamber doesn't take a position on the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act, but does warn that parts of the bill would require "substantial changes to the system" that would over-burden the banking system.

Instead of coming out against the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act, the Chamber is asking the Senate to amend the legislation so it doesn't put so much of the regulatory pressure on businesses outside of the online gambling industry.

The way the current bill is structured, banks and credit card companies would be prohibited from sending payments to online gambling sites. The responsibility for making sure people aren't using their money to illegally gamble online falls on the financial institutions' shoulders.

The Independent Community Bankers of America also recently sent a letter to two Senate committees asking them to re-examine the bill.

"The bill calls on community banks to monitor and block Internet gambling transactions," the ICBA said in the letter. "The Senate should address the operational difficulties this bill presents before it takes action."

The ICBA is also concerned that the banks could be subjected to criminal liability under the new bill, as well as have them facing inconsistent state and national standards.

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