Christians For Leach
By Earl
The Christian Coalition has endorsed the federal . anti-Internet gambling bill, H.R. 556, proposed by Rep. James Leach, Republican of Iowa. Known as the ‘Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act,’ H.R. 556 would render Internet gambling illegal, indirectly but decisively, by banning the use of credit cards and online electronic fund transfers or other fund transferring banking techniques to pay for online gaming. Leach’s law would call for civil penalties as well and criminal penalties for those at who would break it. Fines, imprisonment, and a lifetime injunction against betting are some of the bill’s features.

The Christian Coalition made a statement on its website in support of Leach’s bill: ‘Internet gambling has become another avenue for the gambling industry to lure those who are vulnerable to addictions into its web ... One of the greatest dangers in this form of gambling is that it is easily accessible to adolescents in the home, a college dorm or wherever the Internet is available.’

The Coalition, which claims to have 2,000,000 members, wants the bill debated soon in the House of Representatives. Bill Tate, a spokesman for Congressman Leach, said that a full house debate would be the next official step to determine the fate of H.R. 556, though it has not yet been scheduled for consideration by the leaders of the House.

Leach’s anti-Internet gambling proposal has also drawn support from the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Leach issued a statement expressing gratitude for both endorsements. Leach said of the Coalition: ‘They have a large membership, which if their endorsement in any way energizes, is likely to result in more members becoming aware of the bill ... When anything of this sort has any impact, it is when individual constituents of members contact their representative and say that they would like them to support the measure. That's what tends to motivate members of Congress.’

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that The American Gaming Association is leaning toward supporting Leach’s measure -- rather than supporting a similar bill proposed by another Republican Congressman, Bob Goodlatte of Virginia. But AGA Chief Frank Fahrenkopf has sent Goodlatte proposed changes that would make his bill the likely front runner in this effort to make Internet gambling decidedly illegal, which many land based casino operators want to see happen.

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