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Anne Lindner

Senate Recesses with Leach Bill Untouched

18 October 2002

The U.S. Senate recessed yesterday until after the Nov. 5 elections without passing H.R. 556, the anti-Internet gambling bill proposed by Rep. James Leach, R-Iowa.

The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on Oct. 1. It would make Internet gambling illegal in the United States by updating the 1961 Interstate Wire Act and by forbidding any bank instrument to be used as a payment method for online gambling.

All eyes in the I-gaming community had been on the Senate in the last few weeks to see if it would pass the bill, titled the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act, before the group recesses for elections and the composition of both chambers potentially changes.

After the election, the Senate will return for what is called a "lame duck" session, meaning that senators who have been voted out of office will return for a final few says of business. That is scheduled to happen on Nov. 22.

When the next session of Congress convenes, any Internet gambling bill up for consideration in the last session will have to start over and go through subcommittee and committee votes.

The numbers of Democrats and Republicans in each chamber of Congress is very close, and the changing of a single seat could shift the balance of power from the Democrats to the Republicans in the Senate and from the Republicans to the Democrats in the House.

Should Sen. Jean Carnahan, D-Mo., lose her seat to Jim Talent, the Senate would fall under Republican leadership in the next session of Congress. According to IGN's Washington, D.C. source, that will have little impact on the future of the Internet gambling industry.

In the House, if the Democrats gain power, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., will be chairman of the Financial Services Committee and Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., will be the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Should that happen, it is unlikely the House will be able to pass another Internet gambling bill because Conyers and Frank have both expressed opposition to making Internet gambling illegal.

Leach himself is running in a tight race to keep his House seat. He is facing Democrat Julie Thomas.

Senate Recesses with Leach Bill Untouched is republished from
Anne Lindner
Anne Lindner