The U.S. House of Representatives today passed legislation that would ban most forms of Internet gambling and require banks to develop systems to block their customer's transactions to gambling Web sites.
By a to vote the House approved the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act sponsored by Representatives Bob Goodlatte a Virginia Republican and Jim Leach an Iowa Republican. The bill amends the Wire Act which prohibits gambling using telephone wires to include Internet gambling as a prohibited activity. The bill which would have to pass through the Senate before becoming law allows states to continue to regulate gambling within their borders.
What's in the Bill?
The bill opposed by a new group called the Poker Players Alliance would increase criminal penalties for gambling businesses that settle Internet wagers with credit cards checks or fund transfers and it would require financial institutions to create systems for blocking payments to gambling sites. The bill allows states to continue to regulate gambling within their borders.
The bill is an attempt to stop U.S. gamblers from spending "over $ billion a year at illegal untaxed sites" Goodlatte said on the House floor. He called Internet gambling a "cash cow" for offshore gambling businesses.
The Poker Players Alliance has criticized the bill for targeting the popular online game. In addition the bill would "deputize" banks to look into the financial transactions of their customers the group has said. In addition the bill does not ban existing online gambling industries such as horse racing and state lotteries the group said.
The Family Research Council a conservative religious organization applauded the House for passing the bill. The bill provides "real protection to American families from destructive and unlawful" Internet gambling Tom McClusky the group's vice president for government affairs said in a statement.