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U.S. House of Reps. to Vote on I-gaming Prohibition Tuesday

10 July 2006

Although it comes somewhat later than expected, Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-VA, and James Leach, R-Iowa, have agreed upon the language of an online gambling prohibition bill that merges the distinct strengths of the two separate pieces of legislation each of them has been attempting to pass. The newly merged bill will receive a hearing and vote before the entire U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 11.

Goodlatte's HR 4777, "the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act," and Leach's HR 4411, "the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006," were both approved by U.S. House Judiciary Committee on May 25. It was anticipated that the bills would appear before the full House within two weeks of the Judiciary Hearing, but the two Representatives apparently had some difficulty in agreeing upon a merged form of their bills.

"My own view is that a bill that has the basic approach of the (Financial Services) committee, coupled with certain definitional updates of the Wire Act, makes the most sense," stated Leach to the Las Vegas Review Journal on June 30, before the merger of the two bills had actually been completed.

In addition to clearing the Judicial Committee, Leach's original bill had also passed the House Financial Services Committee by a voice vote on March 15. His legislation seeks to combat remote gambling with unauthorized offshore providers by focusing on restricting the use of credit cards, checks, wire transfers and electronic fund transfers to fund gambling accounts.

Rep. Goodlatte's original bill, on the other hand, focuses on updating the federal Wire Act to clarify that unauthorized gambling activities taking place via remote means are illegal.

Comparatively, Goodlatte's bill has received many more minutes of official debate, having been discussed for nearly two hours by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security on April 5, and then for one hour and 25 minutes by the Judiciary Committee on May 25. Although Leach's bill was also dealt with by the Judiciary Committee on May 25, it received less than five minutes of debate before gaining approval.

Similar to previous manifestations of Internet gambling prohibition bills, an area of intense debate during the Goodlatte bill hearings has been the issue of exemptions for certain types of gambling activities. Goodlatte's bill appears to preserve individual states' rights to license online gambling activities if they so choose. It would also permit remote horse race wagering operators to continue to offer their services online, but Goodlatte and the horse racing industry are reluctant to consider this an actual exemption. The Interstate Horseracing Act-- which was passed in the early 1970s to permit interstate horse racing wagering and then modified in 2001 to clarify that the Internet could be used as an operating channel-- governs horse race betting, and Goodlatte insists that his bill simply makes no judgment on the legality of horse race wagering.

Although Goodlatte's bill has generated more public discussion than Leach's has, the newly merged legislation has taken the number and title of Leach's bill and is now known as H.R. 4411, "the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006."

On June 27 House Republicans unveiled their "American Values Agenda," a list of 10 family values bills that they intend to pass through the House in the month of July, and Internet gambling prohibition appeared on the list.

Should HR 4411 pass the Full House of Representative it would then proceed to the Senate, where Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz, would spearhead efforts to pass it. Time would then be a critical factor, for only a few more months remain in the legislative period. The fact that this is an election year means there is even less time for the bills to work their way through the process.

HR 4411's hearing before the House of Representatives will probably be broadcast on one of C-Span's television channels and on its website.

Click here to view the new version of HR 4411.

U.S. House of Reps. to Vote on I-gaming Prohibition Tuesday is republished from iGamingNews.com.
Bradley Vallerius

Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com
Bradley Vallerius
Bradley P. Vallerius, JD manages For the Bettor Good, a comprehensive resource for information related to Internet gaming policy in the U.S. federal and state governments. For the Bettor Good provides official government documents, jurisdiction updates, policy analysis, and many other helpful research materials.

Bradley has been researching and writing about the business and law of internet gaming since 2003. His work has covered all aspects of the industry, including technology, finance, advertising, taxation, poker, betting exchanges, and laws and regulations around the world.

Bradley Vallerius Websites:

www.FortheBettorGood.com