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Bill in U.S. Congress Takes Aim at Internet Gambling

21 July 2001

WASHINGTON, D.C. –- July 21, 2001 -– As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal: "Rep. John LaFalce, D-N.Y., introduced legislation Friday to ban the use of credit cards or any other financial instruments to pay for Internet gambling.

"The bill is a more sweeping prohibition than legislation offered in February by Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, according to a LaFalce aid.

"The move comes one day after LaFalce introduced a measure to prohibit casinos from offering ATMs and credit card cash advance machines next to gambling tables.

"…`The issue Congress must address is how we can protect our nation's youth from the growing availability and negative consequences of Internet gambling,' LaFalce said in a news release.

" 'To me the answer is simple. We cut off Internet gambling at its source by prohibiting the primary payment vehicles that make online betting possible.' "

"The bill would prohibit electronic payments or any other federally regulated financial transfers to known Internet gaming sites, according to LaFalce aide Dean Sagar.

"…Sagar said the bill would put the onus on credit card companies to determine if Internet gambling sites are legal or not.

". . . Both of the bills LaFalce introduced this week stem from recommendations made by the National Gambling Impact Study Commission in its June 1999 report.

". . . Last year, LaFalce co-sponsored Leach's bill to ban credit card payments for Internet gambling transactions. The bill passed the House Banking Committee, now the Financial Services Committee, by voice vote in June 2000 but never came up for a vote on the House floor.

"LaFalce withdrew his support last year after Leach exempted the horse racing industry's simulcasts from the ban.

". . . Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., who is preparing to unveil a bill to prohibit Internet gambling, said this week he has been talking to Leach about merging their bills.

"…Anthony Cabot, an Internet gambling lawyer in Las Vegas, said he does not expect the LaFalce bill to attract widespread support because it would be unworkable.

"…Cabot described LaFalce's legislation as a threat not only to Internet gambling, but to the entire gambling industry.

"…Marc Falcone, a gambling analyst at the Wall Street firm of Bear Stearns, said a total ban like the one LaFalce is advocating could prove counterproductive.

`Given the fact that we feel the business (of Internet gambling) is always going to exist, it would be a big challenge to implement this legislation,' Falcone said. `The real question is whether Internet gambling can be regulated or not, and I don't think that technology exists right now.'…"

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