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Bill to Ban Gambling Online Gets Another Chance

25 May 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As reported by the Washington Post: "Online poker players will have to fold their hands if a Virginia congressman gets his way.

"Today, the House Judiciary Committee will mark up a bill introduced by Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte (R) that would ban much online gambling, including bets on sporting events and games of chance -- namely poker, which has enjoyed a boom in recent years.

"… The bill would update the Federal Wire Wager Act, which prohibits gambling over telephone lines but may not apply to Internet gambling because not all Web traffic travels over phone lines. It also would force banks to block transactions related to online gambling and would empower law enforcement agencies to force Internet service providers to remove or disable links to gambling sites.

"… Poker players argue that their pastime should be excluded from Goodlatte's ban because it is a game of skill, not chance. Last month, three World Series of Poker champions visited a House office building to defend their game against attempts to ban it online.

"… 'We don't believe that simply putting the word 'Internet' in front of 'poker' should make the game suspect,' said Michael Bolcerek, president of the Poker Players Alliance. 'Poker is a skill game. You can influence events. The original cards are random, but you can influence your success or failure,' …

"… Three House members from Nevada -- Jon Porter (R), Shelley Berkley (D) and Jim Gibbons (R) -- yesterday introduced legislation for an 18-month study of online gambling and whether games could be regulated and taxed, as they are in Britain …

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