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Anne Lindner

New House Bill Proposes Panel to Consider Regulation

19 November 2002

U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., today introduced a bill that would create a five-member commission to study the feasibility of making Internet gambling legal in the United States.

Industry analysts said the bill's main purpose is to spark a discussion on how online gambling could be regulated. The House of Representatives has adjourned for its session and, along with the Senate, is in a lame-duck period.

Conyers, a ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, is known to the I-gaming community for opposing a number of bills that aimed to make Internet gambling illegal by way of cutting off payment mechanisms or updating the 1961 Interstate Wire Act.

Due to the international nature of the Internet, Conyers said, previous attempts to regulate online wagering have proven ineffective. The creation of a commission to study possible regulatory approaches would go a long way toward putting the same kind of player protection that exists in the land-based gaming industry in the online gaming world.

"Such an approach would be more effective at weeding out bad actors and creating protections and safeguards in cyberspace gaming that exist in brick-and-mortar casinos," he said in a press release.

Conyers, who represents Michigan's 14th district, which includes the Detroit area, said the bill is aimed at changing the fact that Congressional conversations about gambling tend to focus on prohibiting one form of it while promoting another form.

"I have always believed that this approach reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the Internet, as most Internet gaming sites exist outside of the U.S., and outside of the reach of U.S. law and law enforcement," he said. "This bill gives us a starting point to talk about how we might create some consumer protections, even in an Internet context."

The bill refers to the federal statutes that cover the placing of interstate wagers as "contradictory and confusing" and states that they do not "adequately address the issues involved with gambling over the Internet."

It further states, "Because of the nature of the Internet, legislative attempts to prohibit Internet gambling are unlikely to be effective, and may adversely impact Americans' rights to due process and individual privacy."

According to the bill, the committee is to be made of five members. One committee member will by assigned by each of the following people: the speaker of the House of Representatives, the minority leader of the House, the majority leader of the Senate and minority leader of the Senate. The remaining member will be voted on by the other four commissioners.

People who have knowledge or expertise about the matters to be studied by the commission will be eligible to be appointed.

Click here to view the Conyers bill.

New House Bill Proposes Panel to Consider Regulation is republished from
Anne Lindner
Anne Lindner