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Vicky Nolan

I-Gaming Ban Not Likely to Be Tagged to Anti-Terrorism Bil

2 October 2001

Internet gambling is unlikely to be targeted in any anti-terrorism and money laundering bills under consideration by U.S. Congress, sources told IGN today.

There are several factors at work keeping online gambling out of these legal efforts, including the possibility that legislators may have overlooked suspected terrorists’ financial activities when lawmakers were targeting Internet gambling.

An article in Sunday's South Florida Sun-Sentinel noted that the financial activities of Osama bin Laden and his associates, whom federal investigators have linked to the Sept. 11 attacks, may have been overlooked because anti-money laundering efforts were focused on areas such as Internet gambling, stock and bond frauds and the South American cocaine trade.

A lack of presidential support may also be keeping lawmakers from pursuing an anti-Internet gambling bill. Without support from U.S. President George W. Bush, many Congress members are unlikely to pursue the cause, one source told IGN.

One I-gaming expert said the issue of Internet gambling is more complicated since the office passed from Bill Clinton to Bush.

"Under the Clinton administration, Internet gambling was illegal based on the Wire Act," Anthony Cabot, a Las Vegas lawyer, told the Las Vegas Sun. "But the Bush administration continues to say 'no comment' when we ask for its interpretation."

Further, a House finance committee hearing scheduled yesterday to discuss Internet gambling was canceled at the last minute, said a source from the House Committee on Financial Services. Most special-interest bills that legislators are trying to attach to the anti-terrorism package are doomed to fail, the source added, because there is little clear link to terrorist activities.

There have been efforts by federal lawmakers this year to ban Internet gambling, although few of these bills have made it very far in the legislative process. Among them is a bill from Rep. James Leach, R-Iowa, that targets the methods used to pay for online gambling.

Leach's Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act, H.R. 566, was introduced on Feb. 12 and was referred to the House finance committee for consideration. Since then Leach has tweaked his bill for introduction at a later date.

News sources have indicated that Leach's bill could be added to anti-terrorism legislation. But that isn't so, IGN was told.

A Leach insider who wanted to remain anonymous said that although Internet gambling and money laundering are “tangentially linked,” news sources that say the Iowa representative’s bill would included in the anti-terrorism bill are misleading.

In the end, it seems speculation is the only link between Internet gambling prohibition efforts and efforts by Congress to draft an anti-terrorism law.

I-Gaming Ban Not Likely to Be Tagged to Anti-Terrorism Bil is republished from
Vicky Nolan
Vicky Nolan