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House subcommittee OKs ban on Internet gambling

WASHINGTON (BP)–A House of Representatives subcommittee has approved legislation outlawing gambling on the Internet.
The Crime Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee voted 5-3 Nov. 3 in favor of the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act. It appears the full committee, however, will not take up the bill until next year.
On the Senate side, supporters of a similar measure are attempting to see if a floor vote may be possible before adjournment for the year, said a spokesman for Sen. Jon Kyl, R.-Ariz., the bill’s chief sponsor. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the legislation with a 16-1 vote in June.
The bill “brings the current ban against interstate gambling up to speed with the development of new technology, and it protects the right of citizens in each state to decide through their state legislatures if they want to allow and regulate gambling within their borders and not have that right taken away by offshore, fly-by-night operators,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R.-Va., chief sponsor of the House version, in a written release.
The proposal to ban Internet gambling is an updating of a 1961 law that prohibited the use of telephone facilities to receive bets or send gambling information. Punishment for violation of the law could amount to a prison term of up to four years as well as a substantial fine. The bill does not ban fantasy sports leagues or online news reporting about gambling.
The bill has received the endorsement of such organizations as the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Major League Baseball Players Association, the National Football League and the National Association of Attorneys General.
The National Gambling Impact Study Commission recommended a ban on Internet wagering in its report, which was issued in June after two years of work.
Last year, the Senate adopted a version of the Internet ban with a 90-10 vote. The House Judiciary Committee never acted on its version.