|The battle between pro and anti online gambling interests took another turn last Tuesday, when the House Judiciary Committee approved bill H.R. 3215 by an 18-12 vote, after significant amendments in recent weeks. The bill would effectively ban Internet gambling, and must now be combined with a similar bill passed by the Financial Services Committee before the full House can vote on it. |
Sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), H.R. 3215 would update the Wire Act of 1961, which bans interstate wagering. It would apply to all the offshore gambling operations that are expected to take in over $5 billion next year through online gaming.
The bill would allow US law-enforcement agents to take down gambling sites and banner ads, and stop credit-card payments to sites operating outside of the US. However, the bill's chances of becoming law may have decreased dramatically due to the numerous changes and compromises put into the bill in the past several weeks. Support for the measure has slipped markedly.
Aides for Nevada's two House members said it is unlikely Republican leaders will press for a full House vote, due to limited time in Congress’ schedule. Reps. Shelley Berkley, (D-NV) and Jim Gibbons, (R-NV) are also likely withdraw their support for the bill. The bill as approved Tuesday 'raised serious concerns' for Gibbons, spokeswoman Amy Spanbauer said. Also, the Senate has no comparable legislation that is slated for committee review at this time.
The final version of the bill removed an exemption that would have allowed casinos to operate their own gambling websites under the supervision of state agencies. The exemption was the main reason why the gaming lobby, led by the American Gaming Association, supported the measure. The AGA is likely to withdraw its support because of the exemption removal, which in turn makes its passage far less likely.