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Bill a Net Gain for Gambling, Foes Charge

16 June 2000

WASHINGTON -- June 16, 2000 – As reported by The Atlanta Journal and Constitution: "Despite its name, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act would encourage more people to bet from home, law enforcement and religious officials told Congress on Thursday.

"The bill, originally intended to stop Internet wagers, has acquired so many loopholes that 'it does indeed expand gambling,' Justice Department attorney Kevin DiGregory told the House Commerce subcommittee on telecommunications, trade and consumer protection.

"… With Clinton administration officials, state lottery representatives and religious conservatives now ganging up on it, the once popular bill faces an uncertain future.

"… In theory, online gambling already is banned by a longstanding federal law that prohibits the use of wires to transmit bets across state lines. But most online gambling sites operate outside U.S. borders, beyond the reach of the law.

"This legislation would cut off those offshore casinos by blocking their access to Internet service providers in the United States. Under the bill, if a state or federal law enforcement agency were to notify a service provider of a gambling operation, whether foreign or domestic, the provider would be required to take down the Web site within 24 hours.

"…But as the bill's fine print started getting closer inspection, its progress has slowed in the House. At Thursday's hearing, testimony called attention to the bill's exemptions for Internet betting on horse racing, dog racing and jai alai.

"…The House Commerce Committee, which claimed jurisdiction because the measure deals with Internet service providers, has until June 23 to amend the bill or pass it along for a floor vote…"

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