|The American Gaming Association is directly opposing the Goodlatte bill.|
The powerful support group has written to Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va, complaining that his bill gives special treatment to the horse racing industry while adding unwarranted new restrictions on casinos.
Up until now the casino industry has not opposed the Goodlatte bill, the Associated Press reports.
Goodlatte has responded to the opposition. He said he hopes to work with the industry on at least some of its objections but remains intent on not letting any sector of the gambling industry use the legislation to take advantage of another.
'Everybody wants to get a leg up on their competition,' he said. 'We've been very careful not to let that happen.'
Goodlatte is among a handful of lawmakers who have been trying since 1996 to crack down on the proliferation of virtual casinos, many operating outside the United States, which allow people to gamble from the comfort of their personal computer.
The online gambling industry has urged the U.S. government, thus far without success, to regulate and tax its games rather than try to outlaw them.
The House Judiciary subcommittee on crime approved the new Goodlatte bill March 12. The bill would update the 1961 Wire Communications Act, which was written to cover sports betting via telephone.
Goodlatte's bill has 155 sponsors. Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., was another co-sponsor of the Goodlatte bill but pulled his support when the casino industry made its objections.