Conyers and Leach bills go head to head
By staff
This could be a pivotal week for Online gambling, as two competing bills are heard in a US House of Representatives subcommittee.

The Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security has scheduled a hearing for April 29 at 2 p.m. EST. During the hearing, two bills will be discussed: HR 21, from Rep. James Leach, R-Iowa; and HR 1223, which was introduced by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich.

Leach's bill is the latest attempt to make Internet gambling illegal in the US. The bill would prohibit online casinos and sports books from accepting credit cards, electronic money transfers and a variety of other bank instruments as payment from US residents.

The Leach bill was passed March 13 by a voice vote in the Financial Services Committee. The totals of that vote were not recorded. At that time, Leach's press secretary felt confident that the bill would go straight to the House floor for a full vote.

The Conyers bill would create a commission to study the feasibility of legalizing and regulating online gambling in the US. Conyers introduced the bill March 12 after putting the idea forth at the end of the last Congressional session.

On introducing his bill, Conyers compared the online gambling’s legal situation with alcohol prohibition in the 1920s.

'Today, Congress is rushing to pass a similar ill-conceived prohibition of Internet gambling,' he said. 'Gaming prohibitionists believe they can stop the millions of Americans who gamble online by prohibiting the use of credit cards to gamble on the Internet. Just as outlawing alcohol did not work in the 1920s, current attempts to prohibit online gambling will not work, either.'

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