U.S. Toughen up on Online Gambling
By James McKeown
The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has approved legislation to toughen U.S. laws against Internet gambling, clearing the way for consideration by the full House of Representatives.

The committee voted 25-11 to approve the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act sponsored by Representative Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, and supported by the Bush Administration Justice Department. The committee are also prepared to support a second measure, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, sponsored by Jim Leach, an Iowa Republican.

“I oppose gambling because I think it causes many, many problems in our society,” Goodlatte said at today's committee meeting.

At present the law on Internet gambling in the U.S. is a decidedly grey area, and in this instance the Justice Department are citing a 1961 law against using telephone lines to place interstate bets to impose restrictions on online gambling, the details of which would be made explicit in Goodlatte’s bill.

The Bush administration Justice Department supports the proposed legislation. Shares of Internet gambling companies declined in London trading after the U.S. vote. 888 Holdings Plc, the world's biggest web casino operator, fell 5 pence to 193.5 pence. Sportingbet Plc, the online bookmaker that owns Paradise Poker, slipped 16.25 pence to 367.5 pence.

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