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Anne Lindner
 

Opposing I-gaming Bills to Be Heard Next Week in US Congress

24 April 2003

Next week has the potential to be a big week in the history of I-gaming legislation as two competing bills take center stage in a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee.

The Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security has scheduled a hearing for April 29 at 2 p.m. EST. During the hearing, two bills will be discussed: HR 21, from Rep. James Leach, R-Iowa; and HR 1223, which was introduced by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich.


"Just as outlawing alcohol did not work in the 1920s, current attempts to prohibit online gambling will not work, either."
- US Rep. John Conyers

Leach's bill is the latest incarnation of legislative efforts during the last new years to make Internet gambling illegal in the United States. The bill would prohibit online gambling merchants from accepting credit cards, electronic money transfers and a variety of other bank instruments as payment from U.S. residents.

The Leach bill was passed March 13 by a voice vote in the Financial Services Committee. The totals of that vote were not recorded. At the time of its Financial Services success, Leach's press secretary felt confident that the bill would go straight to the House floor for a full vote.

The Conyers bill would create a commission to study the feasibility of legalizing and regulating online gambling in the United States. Conyers introduced the bill March 12 after putting the idea forth at the end of the last Congressional session.

A source involved in the process told Interactive Gaming News on the condition of anonymity that the Crime Subcommittee is tentatively scheduled to hold a mark-up of the Leach and Conyers bills on May 1. A press spokesman for the Judiciary Committee stated that the committee had not been given notice of that yet. If a mark-up is held, the bills will be voted on by the Subcommittee.

The list of people who could possibly testify at Tuesday's hearing includes Bill Hornbuckle of MGM Mirage, Leach, and a representative from the Department of Justice, the source said.

When introducing his bill, Conyers said that making online gambling illegal is as ill-advised as alcohol prohibition was in the 1920s.

"Today, Congress is rushing to pass a similar ill-conceived prohibition of Internet gambling," he said. "Gaming prohibitionists believe they can stop the millions of Americans who gamble online by prohibiting the use of credit cards to gamble on the Internet. Just as outlawing alcohol did not work in the 1920s, current attempts to prohibit online gambling will not work, either."

Opposing I-gaming Bills to Be Heard Next Week in US Congress is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Anne Lindner
Anne Lindner