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An Update on Internet Gambling Bill HR 3215

14 March 2002

WASHINGTON -- In the U.S House of Representatives earlier this week, the Sub Committee on Crime (of the House Judiciary Committee) completed mark up of HR 3215.

With a voice vote, the sub-committee agreed to report "HR 3215 Combating Illegal Internet Gambling Reform and Modernization Act" to the Judicial Committee with three amendments.

The resolution will be sent to the full Judiciary Committee for mark-up. At this time, no dates have been scheduled for the mark-up process. It is common for a resolution to take at least one to two months before it reaches Committee.

U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va) introduced the bill last year.

The bill seeks to amend the Federal criminal code regarding interstate gambling and to increase the term of imprisonment for violations.

With exceptions, it prohibits any person from engaging in a gambling business using a communication facility for the transmission of bets or wagers within the US jurisdiction; and it also prohibits communication entitling a recipient to receive monetary credit as a result of bets or information assisting in the placing of bets.

An earlier subcommittee hearing on the bill last November also included a discussion on HR 556 Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act.

HR 556 was authored by U.S. James A. Leach (R- IA), former Banking Committee Chairman. The Chairman of Committee on Financial Services stated that. "the advent of online gambling puts both consumers and financial institutions at an increased risk for fiscal hardship such as bankruptcy. According to law enforcement officials, it is also a tool used by money launderers seeking to introduce ill-gotten gains into the legitimate financial system."

The Committee on Financial Services approved a bill on October 31, 2001 to prevent the use of bank instruments for use in illegal Internet gambling transactions. The House Judiciary Committee has until March 29th, 2002 to act on the measure.

Online gaming faced yet another legal hurdle as an amendment to the House's anti-terrorism bill contended that Internet Gambling could be used as a vehicle for money laundering last fall.

Fortunately for the online gaming industry, the amendment was removed prior to the House vote.

Two years ago, the Kyl bill threatened online gaming operators' businesses. Online gaming faced additional legal battles in the US with votes in both House of Representatives and in the Senate on bills that would have effectively banned online gaming.

The House bill failed to obtain a majority vote.

The Senate's Internet Gambling Prohibition Act of 1999 was intended to update the 1961 Wire Communications Act.

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