Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia reintroduced his anti-gambling legislation to the House of Representatives late last week, almost a year after it failed to win the necessary two-thirds majority vote.
The new bill would update the 1961 Wire Act that bans telephone wagering to include Internet betting. Goodlatte said that the bill needed to be updated because courts have been uncertain whether the Act, which was originally written to stop sports betting, pertained to casino games or to bets made over the Net.
Goodlatte also cited concerns over money laundering at Internet casinos and the need to regulate online wagering when he tabled the legislation.
This bill was introduced only days after a bill banning the use of credit cards in online gambling was approved by the House Financial Services Committee. Rep. Michael Oxley, chair of the committee, said that he expects the two pieces of legislation will be combined into one bill in the near future.
Goodlatte told the Las Vegas Review Online Casino Malaysia Journal that his bill would not affect Internet wagering in Nevada, should casinos there get the green light to go online. “If they figure out how to set up such a system and not have it bleed over into the rest of the United States, it could eventually move in that direction,” he said.
The revised bill would include a number of tougher provisions for people breaking gambling laws. Individuals convicted of running gambling sites could face up to five years in prison; sports betting sites would be made illegal, as well. Gamblers would not be liable to prosecution.
Other gambling opponents, including Oxley and John LaFalce of New York, gave Goodlatte their support last week. But in an interesting twist, James Leach of Iowa, who sponsored the credit card ban on online gambling, is reserving his support for Goodlatte’s bill until he studies the proposed legislation more closely.
In spite of this new legislation, online gambling analysts do not expect the industry will collapse and suggest that U.S. gaming companies may move offshore to conduct their business.
Stay tuned to WINNERonline.com for more news on both bills as it becomes available.
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