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Vicky Nolan

Kyl Bill Passes With A Tiny Voice Vote, Tenacity Pays Off for the Senator

19 November 1999

Senator Jon Kyl has doggedly pursued passage of the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, which bears his name, for over three years. With the clock running out on this year's Congressional session, he was successful for the second time in two years in getting the bill passed in the Senate. But, with US democracy at its best, the Kyl bill was included in a "stacked unanimous consent bill." There were reportedly three Senators on the floor of the Senate when a vote was called on this bill after no debate and they said "Aye." In a subsequent news release by Senator Kyl, the headline screamed that his bill was passed "unanimously."

The bill, which has become controversial because of the "Swiss cheese" nature, carries exceptions for state lotteries, fantasy sports, racing interests and, most recently, Indian gaming interests.

"The hypocrisy is extraordinary," said Sue Schneider, chair of the Interactive Gaming Council. "Casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City are celebrating the passage of this bill."

"It's disturbing that a bill that could severely damage the growth of the Internet was passed without debate, without a recorded vote and, in fact, without any opportunity to have dissenting views considered," added Schneider.

A companion bill in the House of Representatives was recently introduced and passed the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime 5-3. Business on the House bill will be taken up again in late January when Congress reconvenes for the remainder of its two-year session. For those unfamiliar with the US legislative system, both the Senate and the House need to pass a bill with differences being worked out in a conference committee. Then the President must sign the final bill.

At a gaming conference at Cardozo Law School on November 16, Kevin DiGregory, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division of the US Justice Department, noted that the administration is also considering introducing its own bill. This would likely not include any exceptions such as the Kyl bill contains. "It's our feeling that the Kyl bill actually expands gambling," he said.

"More than a billion dollars will be gambled over the Internet this year," said Senator Kyl, in a press release gloating over the bill's passage. "Internet gambling is unregulated, accessible by minors, addictive, subject to abuse for fraudulent purposes like money laundering, evasive of state gambling laws - and already illegal at the federal level in some cases."

"We need to update the law to help it keep up with technology and close the loopholes that have allowed this activity to flourish," Kyl added. "By passing this law, Congress will ensure the ability to prosecute the same gambling crimes tomorrow that are illegal today."

"If indeed the Kyl Bill passed, we're very excited and can't wait to come back and work on it in January," said Michelle Semones, press secretary for Congressman Bob Goodlatte, sponsor of the House version.

IGN will bring you a copy of the Kyl Bill once it's available. Keep watch for updates.

Kyl Bill Passes With A Tiny Voice Vote, Tenacity Pays Off for the Senator is republished from
Vicky Nolan
Vicky Nolan