|The United States House of Representatives appears unlikely to even vote on a bill that would ban Internet gambling, much less pass the measure, before it adjourns for the year in early October. |
While Representative Jim Leach (R-Iowa) said recently that he was optimistic that a vote would occur, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) said that a vote would not likely occur before the House adjourns. Discussions concerning the bill are ongoing.
Two hurdles facing the ban are a division in the Republican leadership as well as the bill’s overall controversial nature.
'[The bill] would be subject to amendments, and there are so many interesting groups involved that if one side gets an amendment, the other side is going to demand an amendment,' a congressional aide told the Las Vegas Review Journal.
To avoid this scenario, Leach would like to advance the bill to the House floor using a procedure that would limit debate but would require a two-thirds majority to pass.
Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), one of the main supporters of the bill along with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio), tried that strategy in July 2000, but, although the bill won a simple majority, it did not achieve a two-thirds majority and was defeated.
Last October, Oxley’s committee approved a bill by Leach that would have outlawed the use of credit cards, checks, and electronic fund transfers to pay for Internet gambling. However, in order to draw more support for his bill, Leach agreed to add provisions from Goodlatte’s bill, including updating the U.S. Wire Act of 1961 to state that using the Internet to operate a gambling business is illegal, as well as increasing jail time for offenders.